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Intellectual Property Rights- A Clock Work

Inventions cannot be judged on patent parameters, but patents have the ability to take inventions very far." - Kalyan C. Kankanala, Fun IP, Fundamental of Intellectual Property

It is commonly acknowledged that India has a reservoir of talent, and that in order to preserve that talent, strong laws and consequences must be established to ensure that this potential and the creator’s discoveries are not exploited. So far, India has tried to do all possible to help, yet some of its poor decisions have resulted in economic losses. There are numerous obstacles to overcome when it comes to adopting these rules and raising awareness about them. The article went on to discuss those issues and offer some suggestions for dealing with them.

INTRODUCTION

The most valuable commodity one can have in the age of creativity is an ocean of innovative ideas. With its value comes the obligation to protect the interests of those who own them. Following Intellectual Property Rights can be traced back to ancient times, when states and the items they own were labelled with special characters or signs indicating ownership. When this pattern underwent a revolution and was struck by innovation, Intellectual Property Rights were created to protect the people and reward them for their ingenuity and out-of-the-box thinking.

This is where Intellectual Property Rights come into play, as they offer inventors fair protection. In today’s fast-paced world, if I have an idea today, someone else will have the same idea tomorrow, so if I can get a monopoly on my idea before someone else, I can exercise my “right to intellectual property.” As a result, it is introduced for the benefit of the sector of society that is in charge of incorporating innovative ideas. 

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT

After several years of these policies, there are still unanswered questions that need to be addressed. Consider the situation in the medical industry, where it was decreed that no patenting or monopoly would be allowed in order to protect people’s interests and ensure that they could receive proper medicine at fair prices. However, several pharmaceutical firms are being granted exclusive rights to produce and distribute a specific drug, which is ironic given the state’s stated goal.

Protecting and looking after the interests of innovators is a critical challenge, since exploitation can easily occur in companies like this, and in order to prevent this, stringent compliance strategies to accompany these policies are needed. And if the original creator loses any of his own work, which he created after a lot of hard work, there is a feeling of great loss, which leads to a stifling of innovation, which further leads to economic loss. This is one of the most compelling reasons to protect the creators’ interests, as any action that takes place there would have an effect on the economy.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS IN INDIA

After joining the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 1995, India signed the TRIPs agreement (Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights). After this agreement, India voluntarily adopted it, and every country was given a 10-year window to do so. While much has been accomplished thus far, further work is needed to bring out the best of these policies and to provide maximum benefit to the concerned community of citizens.

India is one of the countries that has struggled with the implementation of intellectual property and its overall security, but it has taken several measures to improve things. Because of the weaker implementation and lack of policies, this has not worked out so well, and investors and developers continue to be underserved. It might hold some promise for innovators in the future, but if we talk about it now, there are some troubling news. 

The central government in the early April, through way of an ordinance, scrapped the working of five tribunals in the country which includes the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (2003) to particularly address the matters of intellectual property including copyright, trademarks, patents and geographical indications. Former Delhi High Court judge Justice Manmohan Singh, who was the last serving IPAB chairman, criticized the scrapping of the tribunal stating that there was an international obligation under the TRIPS Agreement (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) to have a separate tribunal to deal with cases of intellectual property. 

“In my opinion, the tribunal should not have been abolished,” Justice Singh said whilst highlighting that the all the cases pending before the tribunals will now return to the commercial benches of numerous high courts. “High courts are already short on judges. The Delhi High Court has a sanctioned strength of 60 judges but we only have 29 judges currently,” Justice Singh said. Stating further he talks about the effect of scrapping the tribunal will be perceived on a global level, “the IPAB was created after amendments in the laws due to our commitment under the TRIPs Agreement. Other countries, clients may raise objections. Foreign solicitors and clients might question why IPAB was abolished,” he said. 

One example is the Indian government’s plan to establish completely computerized Intellectual Property offices modelled after the US Patent and Trademark Office. The Indian government recently approved the Patent Prosecution Highway Program, which will simplify and speed up the patent review process. Several filing processes have been explained and simplified as a result of changes to the Manual of Patent Office Practice and Procedures. Other IP advances include the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) giving companies free access to its 450 patents.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE & INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS

Francis Gurry (WIPO director general) said “AI is new digital frontier that will have a profound impact on the world.” When it comes to technology and technical growth in India, artificial intelligence has unquestionably ushered in a revolution. It is thought to play a significant role in intellectual property structures and, at the same time, it may have ramifications.

Patents, copyrights, and trademarks are all components of intellectual property rights that have been established for a purpose. This cause involves the development of technological skills and the construction of a community based on technical ideas. This contributed to the open and equal competition, and each group intended to improve themselves. So, why were intellectual property laws enacted? Of course, this competition should be controlled for the benefit of the general public.

However, as artificial intelligence becomes more prevalent, the primary justification for and intent of intellectual property law is called into question. Since AI-based technology works with binaries, programmed data, and multiple algorithms, it is dynamic and subject to change, so no one can assert ownership of those inventions.

Nonetheless, using artificial intelligence to control systems has been proposed. Firstly, human resource management with such a large number of patents is challenging, whereas artificial intelligence could be a viable option. Secondly, artificial intelligence has been seen as a means of lowering administrative costs. Finally, artificial intelligence has aided in increasing job performance.

CHALLENGES AND ISSUES

Section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act, which forbids foreign corporations from evergreening their patents, is one of the most significant challenges to IPR in India. Even the court in the Novartis glevac drug case, has ruled that MNCs cannot evergreen their patents by making small changes. IPR is a rapidly growing sector not just in India but around the world. A loss of this magnitude must be considered.

Second, the topic of compulsory licenses has been a source of contention for a number of businesses. “Regardless of who got the patent, the Indian government will force the owner company or other emergency.” MNCs see India as an opportunistic market, and this provision as a breach of their rights.

Finally, the question of food security has remained unaddressed. According to the TRIPS agreement, the Indian government is prohibited from providing subsidies or welfare programs to the country’s farmers. However, in India, farmers are referred to as “anndata” (the “God of Food”). And, logically, they are entitled to those subsidies, since they account for 17% of India’s total GDP. As a result, in India, a balance must be struck between food security and protection of intellectual property rights.

Finally, India is renowned for its cultural diversity and awareness across the world. The patenting of India’s traditional culture was condemned by the Indian government. The Indian government has also developed a traditional knowledge digital library for this purpose. Many multinational and developed corporations have expressed opposition to this move.

RECOMMENDATIONS

When we talk and discuss developing countries like India, intellectual property rights can be extremely beneficial, particularly after the pandemic of COVID-19 highlighted their importance. Formulation of IPR policies for various sectors is urgently needed. Personnel training is also very critical. Furthermore, instruction must be given in the sense of using patent data and databases.

Administrative, regulatory, and structural reforms at national level are needed to attract investment in the IPR sector. To increase its effectiveness in the eyes of the entire world and to foster creativity, FDI, technology transfer, and environmental protection.

The government should seek to provide a common working space for innovators, as well as testing and demonstration facilities, mediation and networking with professionals and alumni groups, long-term and professional relationships with higher education institutions, technology transfer training and coaching, and business support to help start-ups manage their future markets and companies.

To supply pre-trained workforce in developing technologies and develop an entrepreneurial culture, the government should attempt to engage with universities, educational institutions, and business. Upgrade university curricula to meet technological needs and correlate with industry requirements, as well as include courses in skill training and entrepreneurship development.

CONCLUSION

It is critical to note that obtaining an IPR in India is a lengthy and difficult process. There are several conditions and clauses that must be met. As a result, it is important to make prudent investments.

After the advent of artificial intelligence, there has been a growing need to protect ideas and creativity. However, one cannot ignore the economic consequences of IPR, as some of them favor multinational corporations by generating large sums of money. Though the government is dedicated to the development of people, the benefits are not readily apparent, especially in the field of agriculture.

Agriculture’s commercialization and the grant of patent rights to multinational corporations may prevent the common man from benefiting from such developments. We are aware of all possible penalties and solutions, but what matters is a regulatory environment that encourages the growth of ideas and creativity.

This article has been co-authored by Anchal Kanthed & Sameena Sayyed of Institute of law Nirma University, Ahmedabad.

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