Why India needs Innovation and IP rights: An overview


India must curb intellectual property rights violations in order to become an innovation hub.

What are intellectual property rights?

  • Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) are legal rights, which result from intellectual invention, innovation and discovery in the industrial, scientific, literary and artistic fields.
  • These rights entitle an individual or group to the moral and economic rights of creators in their creation.

What is the National IPR Policy?

  • The National IPR Policy is a vision document that aims to create and exploit synergies between all forms of intellectual property (IP), concerned statutes and agencies.
  • It sets in place an institutional mechanism for implementation, monitoring and review.
  • It aims to incorporate and adapt global best practices to the Indian scenario.

What is the TRIPS agreement?

  • The Agreementon Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is an international legal agreement between all the member nations of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
  • The TRIPS Agreement is to date the most comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property.
  • It is an international agreement administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO), which sets down minimum standards for many forms of intellectual property (IP) regulations as applied to the nationals of other WTO Members.

TRIPS requires WTO members to provide

  • Copyright rights
  • Covering content producers including performers,
  • Producers of sound recordings
  • Broadcasting organizations
  • Geographical indications
  • Including appellations of origin
  • Industrial designs
  • Integrated circuit layout-designs patents
  • New plant varieties
  • The agreement further specifies enforcement procedures, remedies, and dispute resolution procedures.

What is the Intellectual Property index?

  • The index started in 2012 by USGIPC ranks countries based upon 35 parameters each having one-point weightage.
  • Some of the parameters are patents, copy copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets and market access, enforcement, and ratification of international treaties
  • 5 Countries in 2017 IIPI: United States (1st), United Kingdom (2nd), Germany (3rd), Japan (4th), Sweden (5th), France (6th), Switzerland (7th), Singapore, South Korea (9th) and Italy (10th)

Where does India stand in IP Index 2017?

  • India ranked low 43rd among the surveyed 45 nations in 2017 International Intellectual Property Index (IIPI).
  • IP-intensive industries continued to face challenges in the Indian market with regard to the scope of patentability for computer-implemented inventions, Section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act

What is Section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act?

  • Section 3(d), as introduced in April 2005 into the Indian patent law, represents a unique requirement to be fulfilled for patentability of certain types of pharmaceutical inventions.
  • According to Section 3(d), in order for a new form of a known substance to be patentable, it must show an enhanced efficacy with respect to the known efficacy of the substance concerned.

What is WIPO?

  • WIPO is the global forum for intellectual property services, policy, information and cooperation.
  • It is a self-funding agency of the United Nations, with 191 member states.
  • Its primary mission is to lead the development of a balanced and effective international intellectual property (IP) system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all.

What are the various missions and initiatives taken by the government to promote innovation in India?

Skill Development Mission

  • The Mission has been developed to create convergence across sectors and States in terms of skill training activities.
  • Seven sub-missions have been proposed initially to act as building blocks for achieving overall objectives of the Mission. They are:
  • Institutional Training
  • Infrastructure
  • Convergence
  • Trainers
  • Overseas Employment
  • Sustainable Livelihoods
  • Leveraging Public Infrastructure

New ministry for Skill development

  • The Ministry aims to Skill on a large Scale with Speed and high Standards in order to achieve its vision of a ‘Skilled India’.
  • It is aided in these initiatives by National Skill Development Agency (NSDA), National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), National Skill Development Fund (NSDF) and 33 Sector Skill Councils (SSCs) as well as 187 training partners registered with NSDC.
  • The Ministry also intends to work with the existing network of skill development centers, universities and other alliances in the field.

National Informatics Centre (NIC)

  • National Informatics Centre (NIC) was established in 1976, and has since emerged as a “prime builder” of e-Government applications up to the grassroots level as well as a promoter of digital opportunities for sustainable development.
  • NIC has been instrumental in steering e-Government applications in government ministries at the Centre, States, Districts and Blocks, facilitating improvement in government services, wider transparency, promoting decentralized planning and management

The following major activities are being undertaken:

  • Setting up of ICT Infrastructure
  • Implementation of National and State Level e-Governance Projects
  • Products and Services
  • Consultancy to the government departments
  • Research and Development
  • Capacity Building

India Innovation Growth Programme

  • The India Innovation Growth Programme (IIGP) launched in 2007, is a public-private partnership between Government of India’s Department of Science & Technology (DST) and Lockheed Martin Corporation.
  • The goal of the Programme is to build an innovation pipeline in India.
  • In line with Government of India’s push towards start-ups, the program has been revamped to address specific challenges faced by innovators and entrepreneurs in terms of scaling their innovations.
  • IIGP now has two separate tracks viz. University Challenge and Open Innovation Challenge, each focusing on identifying and supporting both industrial and social innovations

What is BT cotton?

  • Bt cotton is a genetically modified (GM) variety of cotton and its seed contains genetically engineered soil bacterium gene, Bacillus thuringiensis.
  • This gene acts as a natural toxin against insects and pests including bollworms.
  • India became the world’s second-largest producer and exporter of Bt cotton.

Why did Bt cotton become controversial in India?

  • Bt cotton accounts for 93% of cotton grown in India
  • Many farmers believe that the hybrids are costly, give low yield and lead to the disappearance of honeybees.
  • Many believed that it was weak to fight bollworms effectively and were forced to buy expensive pesticides
  • Bt cotton has been enveloped in controversiesdue to its supposed links with seed monopolies and farmer suicides.
  • The link between the introduction of Bt cotton to India and a surge in farmer suicides has been a major debate of controversy

Why does innovation need to be protected?

  • Both the public and private sectors in India invest a woefully small amount in research and development (R&D) which is less than 1% of the country’s GDP.
  • Despite the many successes of Indian talent at home and abroad, Indian students are far outranked in global science and reading tests conducted by the OECD and no Indian university ranks in the top 50 in global rankings.

What initiatives can be taken by the government?

  • Just like the NITI Aayog has formed the Atal Innovation Mission, a cohesive national strategy for innovation must be articulated
  • The government in partnership with industry and academics should seek to identify areas of focus—areas where India seeks to innovate with appropriate technologies and create solutions for India and the world.
  • Clear incentives should be provided to firms to invest in research and development.
  • Effective regulatory regimes should be encouraged to support intellectual property and the longer term investments of firms.

What is the way ahead?

  • The way forward is a knowledge-led economy where innovation and IP stimulate productivity, push economic growth
  • If organizations are not allowed to reap the benefits, the chances of them ploughing back the money into R&D are slim.
  • Policies that encourage research in businesses as well as by individual’s organizations help promote a broader culture of innovation
  • This research further needs to be carried through into India’s education system so that it is more suited to the needs of an innovation-based economy.
  • For innovation to thrive, the government policies must support IP and a sound legal and regulatory framework to be able to accommodate an efficient IP system.
  • The democratic structure of India and an educated population are perfectly suited to an innovation-based growth model.
  • A smart pro-active strategy for innovation, supported by appropriate leadership from the government and the private sector can help elevate India’s mission to “Innovate in India”.
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