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Last updated: 16 May, 2016  

ipr.THMB.jpg More protection, better enforcement in new IPR policy will attract foreign players

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Aparajita Gupta | 16 May, 2016
As India rolled out its much-awaited National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy, experts say better copyright and trademark regime, as promised by the new framework, along with stronger enforcement, would attract more foreign investment into the country.

"The approach of the policy towards copyrights and trademarks appears to serve well the needs of foreign companies. Granting rights faster, and a strong enforcement, are also something that will encourage them," Pravin Anand, managing partner of law firm Anand and Anand, told reporter.

"But a lot depends upon the way the government implements the policy. If the balance is lost we will discourage innovating companies," said Anand, who specialises in IPR, adding that "one great thing in the policy is the way it has addressed digital piracy," indicating stricter steps for addressing the issue.

"We welcome the government's understanding that India's innovative economy requires effective IP protection and hope this commitment will lead to decisive legal reforms. India must provide enhanced certainty for the rights of innovators in line with international best practice," said Patrick Kilbride, executive director of International Intellectual Property of the US Chamber of Commerce's Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC).

The National IPR Policy is a vision document that aims to create synergies between all forms of intellectual property, concerned statutes and agencies. It aims to set in place an institutional mechanism for implementation, monitoring and review of IPR regime.

The policy said trademark offices had been modernised and the government aims to bring down the time taken for registration to a few months improving it just one month by 2017.

Anand said if India can achieve this timeline it will set a world class standard.

Elaborating on the policy, he said for start-ups lots of steps had been recommended in the policy. "The copyright subject matter has been shifted, which will help achieve objective of utilitarian industries like software, telecom and many more."

The copyright law that used to be handled by the human resource development ministry earlier will now come under the new IPR policy.

Protection of intellectual property has been an assurance which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been giving to global investors. "I am personally convinced and want to assure you that India is committed to protect Intellectual Property Rights of all innovators and entrepreneurs," he told a business forum in London last November.

The new policy stated that it recognises India has a well-established Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)-compliant legislative, administrative and judicial framework to safeguard IPRs, which meets its international obligations while utilising the flexibilities provided in the international regime to address its developmental concerns.

It reiterated India's commitment to the Doha Development Agenda and the TRIPS agreement.

Anand was a bit apprehensive about this, stating that mention of the Doha Declaration and flexibility would mean there would be attempts "to find loopholes in TRIPS in order to favour pharmaceutical companies."

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