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The Cabinet has approved an intellectual property rights policy aimed at strengthening the regime and improving infrastructure.

The policy, a long time in the making, names the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) under the commerce ministry as the nodal body for the government’s IPR push.

The policy would act as a road map to coalesce existing laws, DIPP Secretary Ramesh Abhishek said. Accordingly, administration of the Copyright Act, 1957, and the Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout-Design Act, 2000, have been brought under DIPP. A cell in DIPP will facilitate creation and commercialisation of IP assets.

The policy aims to increase IPR outreach, speed up approvals, enhance commercialisation, and enforce norms, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday.

Customising IPR programmes for various sectors and reaching out to traditional knowledge holders will be focus areas. A baseline IP audit has been suggested as has been making IPR a compulsory part of the curriculum at major national institutes. The need for a national research institute on IPR has also been made out.

The policy said India should develop indigenous products to offset growing foreign dependence, like that on active pharmaceutical ingredients imports from China. The policy seeks a stronger institutional monitoring mechanism and suggests cells at the state level to curb IP offences. The DIPP aims to lower the average time for clearing pending IPR applications to 18 months from 5-7 years. This involves bringing down the time for registering trademarks from 13 months at present to one month by 2017. Commerce ministry data showed more than 2,37,000 patents were pending approval.

The US pegs losses from piracy of music and movies in India at approximately $4 billion per year and the commercial value of unlicensed software at $3 billion. India claims the US is trying to pressure it to enhance IPR protection beyond the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement that sets minimum standards for forms of IP regulations for WTO members. Jaitley said all aspects of the policy were compliant with global norms. The US also criticises specific provisions on drugs in India’s patent laws. Jaitley said Section 3 (d) of the Patents Act, which stopped evergreening of patents, would remain.

  • Awareness campaign on IP generation targeting small enterprises, rural citizens

  • Enhancing access to health care, food security and environment by leveraging IP

  • Cell for IPR Promotion and Management to function under DIPP for creation and commercialisation of IP assets

  • Administration and implementation of IP-related laws (Copyright Act and Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout-Design Act) brought under DIPP

  • State-level cells to be created to prevent IPR thefts

  • Major national institutes to make IPR studies compulsory

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