Academic institutions can retain patents if they fund research: IPR draft

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A patent right will rest with the academic institution if a student, researcher or faculty member has used its resources and funds for developing a product, according to draft guidelines floated by the government on the implementation of IPR policy for academic institutions.

However, if an institution determines that an invention was made by an individual on his or her own time and unrelated to his or her responsibilities towards the institution and was conceived without use of its resources, then the invention shall vest with the individual or inventor.

These guidelines are floated with an objective to foster innovation and creativity in the areas of technology, sciences, and humanities by nurturing new ideas and research, in an ethical environment.

It would also help in protecting intellectual property rights (IPRs) generated by faculty or personnel, students, and staff of the academic institution, by translating their creative and innovative work into IP rights.

"The ownership rights on IP may vary according to the context in which the concerned IP was generated. In this regard, a two-tier classification is suggested for adoption," it said.

In case of copyright, the draft has suggested that the ownership rights in scholarly and academic works generated utilising resources of academic institution, including books, dissertations and lecture notes, shall ordinarily be vested with the author.

On the other hand, the ownership rights in lecture videos or massive open online courses, films, plays, and musical works, shall ordinarily be vested with the academic institution.

Similarly, ownership rights over integrated circuits and plant varieties; and industrial designs will rest with the academic institution if a student, researcher or faculty member have used its resources and funds for developing the product.

The guidelines also said the academic institution is free to enter into revenue sharing agreement with the researcher, in cases of commercialisation of innovation, and creation as per the advice of IP Cell.

It added that the academic institution may appoint a committee of experts to address the concerns of the aggrieved person and all disputes shall be dealt with by this committee.

It has also suggested creation of IP Cells in academic institutions to ensure the effective applicability of these guidelines.

The Cell will be responsible for conducting awareness programmes for students, faculty, researchers, and officials. Besides, it would conduct advanced-level awareness programmes.

"IP Cell shall provide an environment for academic and R&D (research and development) excellence and conduct dedicated programmes on IPR for the undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as organise regular IPR counselling programme for research scholars," it said.

The other objectives of these guidelines include laying down an efficient, fair, and transparent administrative process for ownership control and assignment of IP rights and sharing of revenues generated by IP, created and owned by the academic institution.

"These guidelines shall apply to all IP created at the academic institution, as well as, all IP rights associated with them, from the date of implementation of these norms," it added.

The 23-page model guidelines on implementation of IPR policy in Academic Institution have been prepared by the Cell for IPR Promotion & Management (CIPAM), under the commerce and industry ministry.

The IPRs are statutory rights. Owners of these exclusive rights get protection for a specified period of time like 20 years in case of patents. These rights include copyrights, patents, trademarks, geographical indications, and industrial designs.

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