The Indian cabinet has given its approval to the country’s first Intellectual Rights Property (IRP) policy in a bid to give an impetus to ease of doing business¬†in the country.

India unveils intellectual property rights policy
Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister

On Friday (May 13), Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the new policy sought to make the trademark registration process a lot less tedious.

“Normally it takes years to get a trademark registered. In the coming months, all this has now started online and trademark offices have been modernized, the aim is to reduce this time to reduce registration time to a few months and by 2017 it will take only a month to register a trademark,” Jaitley told media here.

He added that there was a need to create an atmosphere of inventibility and innovation

The IRP policy seeks to protect products of human intelligence through copyrights, patents and trademarks.

India has a copyright law but only the publishing industry falls in its ambit. However, the new policy will cover music industry, cinema and industrial designs.

Jaitley added that though India’s current laws were World Trade Organisation (WTO) compliant, a continuous evolution of these laws will always be required.

“The objective behind the IPR policy is very clear. As the economy develops and new inventions come in; trade, commerce and business grow, and in order to provide an impetus to the various sectors IPR systems, laws and its enforcement machinery should be present in any big economy,” said Jaitley.

The Secretary of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion will be the nodal officer who will take decisions in consultations with other departments.

In its annual list issued early this month, U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) Office figured India as one of countries with the worst records of preventing the theft of intellectual property.

India stays on the highest priority watch list due to lack of measurable improvements to its intellectual property legal framework, despite stepped up enforcement efforts, the USTR said.

Global pharmaceutical firms are pressuring the United States to act against India to stop more local companies producing up to a dozen new varieties of cheap generic drugs still on-patent.

Emerging markets, from South Africa to China and India, are battling to bring down healthcare costs and boost access to drugs to treat diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.

Western drug makers, including Pfizer Inc, Novartis AG, Roche Holding AG and Sanofi SA, covet a bigger share of the fast-growing drugs market in India.

But they have been frustrated by a series of decisions on patents and pricing, as part of New Delhi’s push to increase access to life-saving treatments where only 15 percent of 1.2 billion people are covered by health insurance.

Source: Business Standard

India unveils intellectual property rights policy