In this knowledge driven era, companies have no time to waste in creating an intellectual property strategy. The 21st century belongs to entrepreneurs. It is driven by creativity and innovation, which need to be protected and channelised for better use in future.
Enhancing the protection of IPR beyond the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the Indian government has announced an IPR policy that is compliant with global norms. Intellectual property (IP) is a collection of ideas and concepts, which can be protected through trademarks, copyrights and patents. If you make it easy for others to steal your ideas, you can ultimately end up washing away your own path to success.
The new IPR policy is designed in a way to facilitate the ease of doing business in India. The policy ensures credibility with potential investors and strategic partners encourages them to invest in India. India claims to have been pressurised by the US to make the IPR protection stricter in India to curb the piracy of music, movies and unlicensed software, which causes losses of $7 billion annually.
It has been announced that trademark registration will take only one month as per the IPR policy. After implementing this policy, copyright laws will be under the control of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (“DIPP”).
The new policy lays down seven objectives, which are briefly covered below.
- Creating awareness – The new policy aims to create awareness among all sections of society about the economic, social, and cultural benefits of IPR. It will be made a compulsory part of the curriculum in major institutions. The need to open a national research institute for IPR has also been proposed, to increase outreach.
- Innovation – To offset India’s growing foreign dependence, India needs to develop indigenous products. Through its national IPR policy, the government’s main thrust is to create an environment where people can think innovatively and generate innovation in every field. The policy will help mainly inventors and entrepreneurs who are dealing with an overload of knowledge and ideas that need to be protected (from infringers) through trademarks, copyrights or patents, as may be required.
- Balanced structure of legal framework – Protection of intellectual property can only be provided through well-defined laws, which balance the interests of the public with those of intellectual property owners. If there are no protection mechanisms in the legal system, then people will not be encouraged to create more intellectual property. The new policy will lead to stronger institutional monitoring mechanisms to curb IP offenses at the state level.
- Administration and Management– The policy aims to modernise and strengthen service-oriented IPR administration. Digitisation of all government filings has made it quite hassle free to register trademarks online by using IP India’s Site. By 2017, the government aims to lower the average time for pending IPR applications to 18 months (down from 5-7 years) and trademark registration to one month (down from 13 months).
- Commercialisation of IPRs – The policy aims to enable Indian companies to get value for IPRs through commercialisation. Most business owners do not know how their brand impacts the value of their business. A strong brand is nothing but an intangible asset that includes trademarks, copyrights, patents and trade secrets which are the intellectual property of that company. At the time of valuation or in case if the owner is considering selling his business, then intangible assets like your intellectual property can command more value than other tangible assets. Also, a well-protected brand attracts investors as they will feel safe to invest in a company that has everything secured in legal terms to avoid any future conflicts.
- Enforcement and Adjudication – Protecting intellectual property with trademarks, copyrights and patents plays an essential role in monetising innovation. By strengthening the enforcement and adjudicatory mechanisms for combating IPR infringements, a company can stop others from stealing its work. The process of opposing and safeguarding IP will involve coordination between various agencies and guiding IP owners to follow best practices to avoid digital piracy.
- Human Capital Development – To strengthen and expand human resources, the new policy calls for (i) new institutions and capacities for teaching, training, research and skill building in IPRs; (ii) the opening of R&D institutions; and (iii) making IPR a compulsory subject to be taught in schools and colleges. The aim is to develop a increasing pool of skilled IP experts, to facilitate the growth and judicious management of IP assets.
Wrapping it Up
After ‘Startup India’ and ‘Make in India’, India now needs to protect the ‘Creative India: Innovative India’ by simply registering everything that we create. Every new business owner should be aware of his IP rights and should hire a trusted intellectual property consultant to help drive out the myths and build a strategy to best protect the company.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)