National IPR Policy committed to promotion of innovation along with protection of public interests
The National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) policy launched by the government recently is committed to have strong and effective IPR laws.
June 01, 2016: It promotes the interests of the rights owners, while catering to larger public interests and is entirely compliant with the WTO's agreement on TRIPS. The policy attempts to promote a holistic and conducive ecosystem to take advantage of the full potential of intellectual property to promote India’s economic growth and socio-cultural development, while protecting public interest at the same time. The policy seeks to create awareness about the significance of IPRs as a marketable financial asset and economic tool. The policy has come up with the following objectives to achieve the same:
IPR Awareness: Outreach and Promotion – It is imperative to create public awareness about the economic, social and cultural benefits of IPRs among all sections of society
Generation of IPRs –Need to stimulate the generation of IPRs
Legal and Legislative Framework – Essential to have strong and effective IPR laws, which balances the interests of rights owners with larger public interest
Administration and Management – To create a modern and strong service oriented IPR administration
Commercialisation of IPR – To promote commercialisation of IPRs
Enforcement and Adjudication - To strengthen the enforcement and adjudicatory mechanisms for combating IPR infringements
Human Capital Development - To improve and enhance human resources, institutions and capacities for teaching, training, research and skill building in IPRs
With regard to the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors, the country would continue to make use of the legislative space and flexibilities available in international treaties and the TRIPS Agreement. These would include the sovereign right of countries to use provisions such as Section 3(d) and compulsory licensing (CLs) to ensure that essential and life-saving drugs are made available to the common man at affordable prices. This holds special significance on the background of U.S. concerns including “rejections” of patent applications for innovative pharmaceutical products due to “unpredictable” application of Section 3(d) of the (Indian) Patents Act as well as issuance of a CL by the country. As per the WTO norms, a country can invoke a CL by allowing a company to produce a patented product without the consent of the patent owner in public interest. As per the Indian Patents Act, a CL can be issued for a drug if the medicine is considered unaffordable, among other conditions, and the government allows qualified generic drug makers to manufacture it.
Also in connection with the objective of commercialisation of IPRs, the policy categorically specifies for the pharmaceutical industry to streamline regulatory processes, to have timely approval for manufacturing and marketing of drugs while strictly adhering to safety and efficacy standards. Also efforts need to be undertaken to reduce dependency on Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) imports. Incentivisation of APIs manufacturing and revitalisation of public sector undertakings in health care sector should also be taken into consideration.
Towards working on the objective of enforcement and adjudication, the policy specifies the need for creating awareness of the value of IP and respect for the IP culture. For the pharmaceutical sector, strong measures need to be enforced against attempts to treat generic drugs as spurious or counterfeit. Strict action against production and sale of misbranded, adulterated and spurious drugs should to be taken. The government has already taken action in this regard. It has developed the ‘Track and Trace’ mechanism to check the authenticity of medicines being sold and stored in the country. Unique bar codes are allotted for primary, secondary and tertiary packaging of medicines. Anyone is able to access any information/data through the net to check the authenticity of medicines.
The current IPR policy attempts to make IP as a policy and strategic tool in promotion of national development .It promotes a coordinated and integrated development of the IP system in the country by strengthening the important aspects of legal, administrative, institutional and enforcement related matters. It is expected that with the roll out of the policy, creativity and innovation would be fostered along with the promotion of entrepreneurship and enhancement of socio economic and cultural development of the country.
For complete draft of the policy, please refer to http://dipp.gov.in/English/Schemes/Intellectual_Property_Rights/National_IPR_Policy_12.05.2016.pdf