India announced a new National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy on Friday (13th May, 2016). The new National IPR Policy is introduced to safeguard its several commercial interests arising from certain creativity issues, related to music, books, art, software, and drugs and pharmaceuticals. According to the Indian government, the new policy will serve as a vision document to ensure synergies between the statute and institutional mechanisms.
The new policy will make the Department of Industrial Promotion and Policy the agency in charge of regulating intellectual property rights in the country. It aims to spread awareness among public about trademarks, copyrights and patents to promote innovation within the country.
According to the Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley the country has a robust trademark law in place and the underlying principle is that a person should sell products under his own identity and name. Nirmala Sitharaman, commerce and industry minister has recently informed the national parliament that around 2.5 lakhs applications were pending in India's four patent offices.
Patents for medications for example may give rise to a monopolistic situation; hence a balancing act is needed. The new policy will try to safeguard the interests of rights owners with the wider public interest, while combating infringements of intellectual property rights.
Hailing the announcement, one of the subject matter lPR expert says, “India’s approach in this area is one of the most powerful things is being done in 50 years on intellectual property rights”.
While, India has aimed to speed up the online registration of patents and trademarks, but at the same time the country has resisted pressures from the United States and other Western countries to amend its patent laws. India, however, says, it is party to the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), a WTO agreement that sets minimum standards for intellectual property regulation. India aims to meet the global obligation to protect innovation, and make it a core of industrial progress, the new policy will serve to ensure synergies between the statute and institutional mechanisms.