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When it comes to promoting innovation, India is already taking the lead among emerging economies. Earlier this year, GoI launched the India Innovation Index, which ranks its states on innovation through an online portal. Then, in June, it unveiled an action plan for the Scheme for Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Awareness, an important part of implementing the 2016 National IPR Policy.

Now, GoI is working to develop an IP exchange to better capitalise on, and support, existing patents. India’s states are also taking steps towards innovation. For example, Punjab recently welcomed India’s first Technology and Innovation Support Centre —a World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) initiative to stimulate a vibrant conversation on IPR protection.

Emerge and Shine

These innovation-led growth strategies give India the opportunity to serve as an example for other emerging economies. According to a new Harvard University study, India is expected to remain among the fastest-growing economies with an estimated annual growth rate of 7.7% until 2025. Simultaneously, the 2017 Global Innovation Index — a joint initiative by business school Insead, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo), and Cornell University — ranked India 60 out of 127 countries, indicating steady progress from its rank of 81in 2015.

However, a recent report by Niti Aayog-IDFC Institute that analyses state-wise development shows that job growth, particularly good quality job creation, remains a challenge. India will need to continue reforming to sustain its economic growth trajectory.

It will need to create one million jobs a month, invest heavily in research and development, and integrate into the global value chain quickly. If its economy falters, India risks falling into the ‘middle-income trap’ — the point when rapidly growing countries are susceptible to a loss of economic momentum or even stagnation.

They are trapped in an impasse: they are no longer low-income, low-wage, resource-driven economies, but have failed to make the transition to high-income, high-innovation economies. This is when economic growth plateaus. The Brazilian and South African experiences are cases in point.

To realise India’s innovation vision, and to avoid the middle-income trap, GoI must first fix the gaps in its National IPR Policy: the key to the growth of innovative and creative industries. An effective IPR framework is indispensable to attract foreign investors, disseminate creativity and encourage local innovators to invest in their own ideas.

India can further sharpen its National IPR Policy to realise the innovation-growth relationship by capitalising on specific sectors, such as its flourishing generic drugs industry and the thriving services sector. For instance, the policy should help India foster an environment that welcomes and protects life sciences investments, one that recognises genuine inventive steps in drug formulations.

As for services, the removal of the restrictive novel hardware requirement for computer-related inventions is an encouraging step towards recognising the patentability of all forms of technology. However, greater clarity on patentability can supplement GoI’s ‘Startup India’ initiative.

Furthermore, GoI must follow through on updating legislative infrastructure in a way that enables domestic and foreign innovators to protect their trade secrets and accelerate technology transfers. As GoI looks to address the shortcomings in its innovation and IP policies, it can also examine three opportunities more closely.

First, India can encourage and enhance a streamlined, market-based licensing business model for greater technology diffusion. New research from a joint study by the US Chamber of Commerce and Pugatch Consilium ( indicates a strong relationship between effective licensing and innovative technology diffusion, job creation and economic growth.

Learn From (Their) Mistakes

The study also shares examples from China, Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia, where a mix of administrative hurdles, legal barriers and coercive licensing issues pose serious barriers to technology diffusion. India can innovate by eliminating its peers’ failed policies.

Second, India could consider strengthening its patent system and remove price control mechanisms on medical innovations. According to a 2016 study by the London School of Economics (, policies that strengthen patent protection and remove price controls significantly reduce drug launch time and accelerate drug diffusion.

This data must be taken into consideration, especially as GoI considers extending price controls to more drugs along with the recent inclusion of orthopaedic knee implants to its list of medical devices. Also, additional price controls proposed in the recent draft pharmaceutical policy is at cross-purposes with the ultimate goal of spurring innovative research and improving drug quality.

Finally, India’s transition from pro innovation messaging to innovation-led growth merits the effective communication of benefits to all stakeholders.

The growing introduction of IPR education in Indian law schools is welcome. GoI should collaborate increasingly with foreign law institutions to adopt IPR curricula in line with global best practices. It could work with the private sector to disseminate the positive outcomes of any joint collaboration, including, for instance, Pfizer’s innovation accelerator programme, Qualcomm’s ‘Design in India’ initiative, or partnerships with GoI’s Jan Aushadhi programme.

Strong IP standards can fuel the growth of domestic innovative industries, help attract greater foreign investment and bolster India’s economic prosperity. They can also provide an example to other emerging economies by showing how innovation leads to growth.

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NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet today cleared MoU signing between India and Sweden on intellectual property right (IPR) cooperation, aimed at benefiting entrepreneurs, investors, and businesses. 

The Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the memorandum of understanding (MoU), an official statement said. 

This will enable India to exchange experiences in innovation and IP ecosystems. 

"The MoU establishes a wide-ranging and flexible mechanism through which both countries can exchange best practices and work together on training programmes and technical exchanges to raise awareness on IPRs and better protect intellectual property rights," the statement read. 

The government hopes that the MoU signing will further the objective of National IPR Policy, 2016, and sees it as a landmark step towards becoming a major player in global innovation.

Exchange of best practices between the two nations will improve protection and awareness about India's various intellectual creations -- which are as diverse as its people -- the statement added.

As part of the MoU, a joint coordination committee with members from both sides will be established to exchange best practices, experiences, and knowledge on IP awareness among the public, businesses and educational institutions of India and Sweden. 

Among others, there will be collaboration for training programmes, technical and expertise exchanges, exchange on best practices, experiences and IP knowledge with the industry, universities, research and development organisation and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). 

There will be "exchange of information and best practices for disposal of applications for patents, trademarks, industrial designs, copyrights and geographical indications, as also the protection, enforcement and use of IP rights" 

The MoU will also cover cooperation in automation and modernisation projects, new documentation and information system in IP and procedures for management of intellectual property. 

The official statement said it will also cover exchange of information and best practices on intellectual property law infringements in digital environment, especially copyright issues, besides other activities decided upon by both the parties.


Bengaluru: HCL Technologies has taken an unconventional route to partially offset the slowing down of its traditional workhorse - infrastructure management services (IMS).

India's fourth-largest IT services firm has pumped in $780 million into five IP (intellectual property) partnerships with IBM. The spend on these IP deals, signed over the last five quarters, surpasses the company's capital expenditure in the four years beginning 2013-14 ($695.4 million). The partnership has so far yielded revenue of a little over $200 million.

The IP deals are part of a 15-year engagement with IBM for automation and DevOps solutions. Some part of the investment will be amortised over the period of the engagement (amortisation of intangibles reduces the value of the intangible assets over time).

Based on HCL's estimated annual amortisation expense schedule for intangible assets, the outstanding amortisation beyond 2022 is $510 million. A financial analyst, who did not want to be named, said the bulk of the amortisation is going beyond 2022 and given that obsolescence is very high in the technology space, the carrying value seems very optimistic. The amortisation will have an impact on the company's net profit going forward.

HCL had entered into a similar joint venture a few years ago with the erstwhile CSC (now DXC) to modernise and run applications on one of the old core banking platforms, Hogan. However, the JV didn't take off as expected.

Jimit Arora, who leads Everest Group's IT services research practice, said in the future of IT services, ecosystems will be key to the relevance of companies. He said a variety of models will evolve, including frenemies / co-opetitors. "The notion that any company can do it all themselves will be self-destructive. The IBM-HCL partnership and the earlier IBM-CSC partnership are all examples of this same model. In general, we see IBM seeking to monetise its assets and divest the portions of the portfolio that don't fundamentally align to a cognitive world," he said.

IBM has signed over 19 IP partnerships over the past two years, including the five with HCL.

"In a digital first world, HCL needs to develop stronger competencies in areas such as DevOps, UX (user experience) modernisation, APIs, automation, etc. Think of the `capital investment' as a way to obtain the IP-licenses which are expected to have a longer-term revenue impact," Arora said.

HCL has signed partnerships in areas including workload automation, web services enablement for mainframes, and information and database management. "Whether this `acquisition' plays out the way HCL wants - it is too early to tell. But the capabilities it brings and the value proposition of a full stack solution for the client is compelling and allows HCL to focus on services without fundamentally having to pivot to a product company," said Arora.


The government announced a new intellectual property rights policy (IPR) on Friday which will speed up the online registration of patents and trademarks but resisted pressure from the US and other Western countries to amend the country's patent laws to give more leeway to multinational pharmaceutical companies.

The policy aims to spread awareness among the public about trademarks, copyrights, and patents to promote innovation within the country, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley told the media here.

Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office in 2014, global drug brands led by US companies have been pushing for changes to India's intellectual property rules. These MNCs have often complained about India's price controls and marketing restrictions. Observing that every country is entitled to defend its economic interest, Jaitley said, "Monopolies are loved by those who own monopolies."

The policy will try to safeguard interests of rights owners with the wider public interest while combating infringement of intellectual property rights, Jaitley added. Besides, the registration process for trademarks will be reduced to one month by 2017. Last month, the US trade representative kept India, China, and Russia on its 'Priority Watch List' for inadequate improvement in IPR protection. However, Jaitley said that India would retain the right to issue compulsory licenses to its drug firms under "emergency" conditions and would not immediately need to change patent laws that are already fully compliant with the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The finance minister said, "One must encourage the invention of life-saving drugs and at the same time we must also be conscious of the need to make them available at a reasonable cost so that drug cost does not become prohibitive as has become in some parts of the world. We do believe that the balancing act which India has struck is responsible for life-saving drugs available at a reasonable cost in India compared to the rest of the world. So, our model seems to be both legal, equitable and WTO-compliant."

Defending India's stand, Jaitley said that availability of medicines at the reasonable cost is necessary adding that the patent period beyond 20 years can be extended only if there is a fresh invention and not a marginal alteration.

"So, ours is a very balanced approach, which I said balances it with consideration of innovation and public health consideration," he emphasized.

Developed countries have raised questions about Section 3 (d) of the Indian Patent Act, 1970, and compulsory licensing saying the norms restrict innovation. The section does not allow the patent to be granted to inventions involving new forms of a known substance unless it differs significantly in properties with regard to efficacy. "... marginal alterations which are of non-significant medicinal value do not entitle you to a new patent. Only a significant change will entitle to the patent," Jaitley said.


The government has formulated a scheme to increase awareness of intellectual property rights (IPRs) under which the DIPP would take several steps including organizing 4,300 programs in three years. 

The department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) created the "Scheme for IPR Awareness" under the mandate of the national IPR policy announced in 2016. 

The scheme targets to conduct IP awareness workshops/ seminars in collaboration with industry organizations, academic institutions and other stakeholders across the country. 

"These awareness programs will be tailored for four categories - primary school, secondary school, university/ college and industry," DIPP has said in a statement. 

Ill effects of piracy and counterfeiting would also be highlighted in the workshops and seminars. 

"The duration of the scheme is for three years (April 2017 - March 2020). It is envisaged that during the next three years, around 4,300 IPR awareness programs will be conducted," it said.



New business models of delivery of services in the digital world are changing the world for the better, but they also throw up challenges in terms of managing problems relating to them, according to a top executive of a Virginia-based Intellectual Property Protection firm.

Pamela C Gavin, the Managing Member of Gavin Law Offices PLC, told BusinessLine that the range of services and reach digital platforms provide is mind blowing. But they also expose companies, service providers and users to the potential misuse of intellectual property rights.

During her visit to Hyderabad, as a leading intellectual property protection and enforcement consultant, Pamela mentioned about Amazon, Netflix models of delivery of digital content, and said these provide wide access and market equilibrium. Young people are particularly well placed to gain from the delivery of such content.

Piracy angle

However, from an enforcement point of view, it throws a number of challenges for companies and service providers from the piracy angle.

Even the content sometimes uploaded on to the digital platform needs to be strictly regulated. But any violation can be tracked and addressed by the right experts, she said.The laws in the US have been well codified and the enforcement is also very efficient. Yet, nature and scope and the geographical reach make it tough sometimes to manage the inherent challenges, she said.

Mentioning the recent instance of Ilayaraja-SP Balasubramanyam spat, she said in the US it is possible to make use of the same theme and innovate and generate new music but they would have to pay the royalty to the original creator. Referring to music groups and popular singers, with whom she has been working with over the years, she said in the US, the norms are well established and violation can be addressed within the legal framework.

Citing the example of Ethiopian Fine Coffee, where buyers were making huge money and coffee plantation workers hardly any in the past, she said through branding and protection of IPR, it is a win-win situation.

Win-win situation

Now, the Ethiopian Fine Coffee is branded, it gets the right price, gets consumed in Starbucks network, the coffee sellers get right prices and in the end, even the workers get their rightful due.

There have been a number of instances where free speech and trade mark related issues come in conflict. But there are ways to address them as per the laws and ensure justice is done, she said.



India will be on a stronger wicket to oppose the stringent IPR framework being pushed by some members at the next negotiating round of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in Kobe, Japan, following the collapse of the US-led Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) it was modeled on.

“There will be a sense of urgency among RCEP members in Kobe next week to complete the round soon with the failure of the TPP, but the pressure will be relatively less on India to give its consent to the draft IPR agreement, for the same reason,” an official told BusinessLine.

The RCEP is being negotiated by the 10-member ASEAN bloc and its six free trade partners — India, China, South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Packed agenda

The February 27- March 3 Kobe meet will have separate negotiating sessions for goods, services, investments, as well as talks on other areas such as rules of origin and IP.

With seven of the 16 countries also members of the TPP, some members such as Japan were trying to make the RCEP deal as ambitious as the TPP, especially in areas such as IPR (intellectual property rights). The TPP, however, has collapsed with the Donald Trump regime in the US pulling out of it. “New Delhi has already registered its unhappiness with the draft IPR agreement modeled on the TPP, as it feels that provisions such as patent term extension and data exclusivity could affect the supply of cheap generics in the country. Such provisions also go beyond the WTO’s TRIPS pact,” the official added.

Civil society organizations such as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) have also petitioned Japan and South Korea to withdraw their “harmful proposals’’, which will restrict people’s access to affordable generic medicines.

“The negotiators must protect public health safeguards that enable developing countries like India to keep supplying the life-saving affordable medicines needed to treat millions of people worldwide,” said Leena Menghaney, Head-South Asia, MSF Access Campaign.

The RCEP, if implemented, could create the world’s largest trade bloc, with $22.5 trillion in GDP (30 per cent of world GDP) and a population of over 3.5 billion.

There is pressure on India to improve its market access in goods to bring it at par with the offer of tariff elimination on over 80 per cent of items extended to ASEAN. New Delhi has offered the least access to China, Australia and New Zealand (42.5 per cent).

India has insisted that it will not give higher market access in goods till it receives meaningful offers in services in terms of more access for its professionals and workers.



Expressing its disappointment with India for not making adequate changes in its IP laws and regulations despite announcing its National IPR policy last year, the US Trade Representative’s (USTR) office has once again placed the country on the ‘priority watch’ list in this year’s edition of the Special 301 report.

“Almost a year after the announcement of its long-anticipated National IPR Policy, India continues to dismiss the need for substantive changes to its IP laws and regulations. This is disappointing at best and distracts from some of the more positive steps found in the IPR policy,” says the report, released on Friday.

New Delhi, however, maintains that its IPR laws are in total compliance with the global IP agreement TRIPS and no country had the right to say otherwise.

Commerce & Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, at a world IP day event on Thursday, emphasized that the country’s IPR legislation was totally TRIPS compliant and it did not have to “give explanations’’ to any other country.

Being placed on the ‘priority watch’ list means that India continues to figure among countries that the USTR feels have “serious intellectual property rights deficiencies” and do not give adequate protection to American companies.

While the US does not threaten action against countries on the ‘priority watch list’, US laws say that retaliatory measures may be taken if a country slips further and is listed as a priority country — which is the worst categorisation.

“We neither recognize nor feel threatened by such internal reports brought out by a particular country. There is no way a country can get away by taking unilateral action against us as we will complain to the World Trade Organization, which prohibits such measures,” a government official told BusinessLine.

The US 301 report further said that the US will continue to encourage the Indian government to address the biggest gaps in its IP protections, including “uncertainties and challenges in the patent system (with particular regard for computer-related inventions (CRI) and Section 3(d) of the Patent Act), the need to modernise copyright laws, and the need for regulatory data protections.”

India has already told the US that it will not drop Section 3 (d) of its patent Act, which denies patents on items that are not significantly different from their older versions.



The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) has kicked off its Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) awareness campaign for schools by introducing the initiative at Kendriya Vidyalaya, RK Puram, New Delhi. The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management in collaboration with the International Trademark Association has designed the program for school children to teach them to be innovative and respect IPR from a young age, according to an official release.

“Outreach and promotion is the first and foremost objective of the National IPR Policy and is critical to shaping an IP environment that is conducive to fostering creativity and innovation in the country. One of the key focus areas is children in schools, as it is essential to nurture creativity and the ability to innovate from a young age, according to Rajiv Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, DIPP. A streamlined system is being worked out to conduct over 3,500 awareness programs in schools, universities and the industry across the country.


Munich, 9 December 2016

Mr Raimund Lutz, Vice President of the European Patent Office (EPO), and Dr Debashis Dutta, Group Coordinator of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), and Mr Sugandh Rajaram, Consul General of India in Munich, inaugurated the 4th Indo-European Conference on Patents and ICT, which held on 9th December 2016 at the EPO’s headquarters in Munich. The objective of this year’s conference was to explore the opportunities and challenges generated by Industry 4.0 for the patent systems in Europe and India with a view to fostering a common understanding of, and approach to, future developments. 

The conference held a special relevance as under the German presidency of the G20 in 2017 industry 4.0 has been identified as a key topic and European ICT industry has sought to play a leading role in shaping future developments in this field. Hence, more than 200 stakeholders from Europe and India exchanged information and views on the latest developments with a special focus on the expected interaction between Industry 4.0 and the patent system. The respective practices in the field of software-related inventions were subjected to comparison, and industry and policy-makers shared their perspectives on the exchange of best practices in patents and standards. The conference discussed pertinent patent-related issues faced by the ICT industry both in Europe and in India. 

On this occasion, the EPO and MeitY also announced the launch of an Indo-European IPR Collaboration Portal in the coming weeks, which will facilitate the registration, protection, and commercialisation of IPRs in the respective jurisdictions, particularly by SMEs, start-ups, universities, single inventors, etc.  

At the sidelines of the conference, the EPO and MeitY organised a round-table for users and industry, which was held on 8 December 2016. Both parties presented the latest results of their bilateral co-operation such as the creation of a virtual EPO-India helpdesk for innovators from both regions, the above-mentioned Indo-European IPR Collaboration Portal, the establishment of a wide network of master trainers in India trained on the European patent system and the use of EPO patent information tools, and increased awareness among Indian stakeholders of the EPO procedures and practice in respect of Computer implemented inventions (CII). European and Indian industry expressed their satisfaction with the bilateral co-operation of the EPO and MeitY, and provided valuable proposals and input for the conceptualisation of new co-operation projects under the bilateral umbrella. Aligning the respective practices and improving consistency and predictability in the examination and grating of software-related patents in India was the foremost request from industry. Improved access to patent information from India, particularly legal status data, came close behind.