ASSOCHAM suggests formation of IPR authority

Last Updated: Fri, Nov 16, 2012 08:52 hrs

New Delhi, Nov 16 (IBNS) The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) has suggested establishment of National Intellectual Property Right (IPR) Strategy Authority to Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) in the context of fast changing trade environment driven by global competition, innovation risks, short product life cycle, rapid changes in technology involving huge investments in Research & Development and human resource.

The proposed Authority should be aiming of aligning towards achieving a target of 50,000 patent applications filed in India in 2015 and 1,50,000 in 2020. Similar targets should also be set for filing of design and trade mark applications.

The chamber says based on the total global patent filings in 2010, it can be seen that the U.S. received 24.8% of the applications, China received 19.8%, and Japan received 17.4% of the applications.

On the other hand, India received only 1.9% of the applications. Also, per billion dollars of GDP, while the US had 30 applications, China had 40 applications and Japan had 80 applications, India had only 10 applications per billion dollars of GDP.

ASSOCHAM President Rajkumar Dhoot said the proposed authority should be functionally autonomous and financially independent and be made responsible and accountable to look into several existing policies, statutes, and regulations of the Government may be not complementary and aligned to the stated objectives of the National IPR Strategy.

"A review of such policies, statutes and regulations should be undertaken with a view to align them with the stated objectives of the National IPR Strategy and to provide equal opportunity platform to all the players irrespective of their nationality," said Dhoot.

"Formulation, adoption and wide dissemination of objectives should be encouraged in all ministries, departments and bodies of the central government, state, sub-state governments, business and cooperative sectors."

Moreover, tax incentives should be extended to IPR procurement expenses as well. Patent filing and prosecution till grant can cost anywhere between 3-5 lakhs INR for each country.

Similarly, protecting trademarks, geographical indications and designs in multiple countries can involve substantial expenses. Since it involves a substantial cost to protect IP outside India, tax incentives for filing outside India based on a first filing in India should be provided.

Concessional official fee offered only to individual inventors today should be extended to MSMEs and universities also. Also, attractive official fee structure should be offered to individuals in case of trademarks and design registrations as is provided for patents.

ASSOCHAM chief further said, the processes for granting or registration of all types of IPRs, including trademarks, design and patent, should be made time bound and efficient by streamlining the procedure by which any application for any of the IPRs is processed.

The timelines should include timelines for examination, hearing, issuance of grant notice, etc, he said. The Authority can assess regularly as to whether the timelines are being met and corrective action should be taken whenever a lapse is encountered.

The utility patent has been widely claimed to be a successful model for increasing the participation of the small entity, domestic applicants, and MSMEs, said ASSOCHAM.

However, a system which would not check for novelty or non-obviousness against prior art would only lead to large number of suspect patents, leading to shifting the burden to already overburdened judicial system to determine invalidity of such granted patents.

Provision should be made to take action against software piracy in line with provisions for video piracy as an offence under the Prevention of Dangerous Activities of bootleggers, drug offenders, goondas, forest offenders, immoral traffic offenders and slum grabbers Act, introduced by various states.

Since the government has recognized the role of the software industry as the driver of economic growth, it is recommended that these Acts be amended suitably to recognise software piracy as an organized crime. Similarly, and appropriate legislation should be enacted at the central government level to deter the tendency of software piracy.

To discourage software piracy and encourage use of licensed software by MSMEs, Traders, and Enterprises, a compliance certificate from the certified auditors for the use of licensed software should be sought.

The sale of counterfeit and pirated goods sold on the Internet should be addressed by suitably amending the Copyright Act.

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