Controversy of IPR Think Tank & Intellectual Property policy- INDIA

The Government of India on 24th October 2014 constituted an IPR Think Tank to draft the national intellectual property rights policy and to advice the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) on IPR issues. The IPR Think Tank has following six members:

  1. Justice (Retd) Prabha Sridevan, Chairperson, IPR Think Tank;
  2. Ms. Pratibha M Singh, Sr.Advocate, Singh & Singh Law Firm, Member;
  3. Ms. Punita Bhargava, Advocate, Inventure IP, Member;
  4. Dr. Unnat Pandit, Cadila Pharmaceuticals Limited, Member;
  5. Shri Rajeev Srinivasan, Director, Asian School of Business, Thiruvananthapuram, Member;
  6. Shri Narendra K. Sabarwal, Retired DDG, WIPO, Member and Convener.

IPR Think Tank Controversy

Since, its composition the IPR Think Tank was shrouded in controversies, with following allegations:

(i) Arbitrariness and ad hoc approach in policy making.

(ii) Conflict of interest.

(iii) Lack of relevant expertise of some of the members.

(iv) Lack of representation of all stakeholders.

The Frontline magazine article, Breach of promise on IPR Policy? provides a detailed account of the issues involved. However, the problem in Intellectual Property policy framework is far more complex than the controversies on the constitution of IPR Think Tank.

Why India lacks a Consistent Intellectual Property Right Framework?

Intellectual Property framework in India went a drastic change in 1994 when the Government of India, like most of the world, accepted an evolved Intellectual Property system through TRIPs Agreement mandated by the World Trade Organisation (WTO). It was obvious that adopting an evolved system in an underdeveloped market would create social and market problems in future. This is a reason why India still doesn’t have a consistent Intellectual Property policy framework, even though it’s been two decades since its adoption. Intellectual Property laws of India were fully compliant with the TRIPs requirement on 1st January, 2005. Since then, numerous cases involving policy issues in the field of patent and copyright have been litigated in various courts across the country.

Potential Solution

One of the main reasons for a non-existent long term Intellectual Property policy framework in India is the fact that legal experts have been framing Intellectual Property policy using legal tools without any aid of economic analysis or empirical research. Whereas, social and market problems that have arisen as a result of adopting an evolved system require an economic analysis and empirical research, as well as inputs from various other disciplines. Therefore Industry associations in India should, on behalf of their members develop new IP policies which can serve as a roadmap for IP monetization, IP protection and IP based growth to overcome these social and market problems.