Intellectual Property Rights have marked the beginning of an era when a person’s idea itself can be protected. The concept itself is truly brilliant and its true brilliance lies in its simplicity. Intellectual Property system plays a pivotal role in framing industrial, trade and financial policies, for scientific and technological development of any country. Strong IP legislations boost progress, which is very important for a developing country like India. Regardless of all the facts, somehow, we have not been able to make full use of this brilliant concept. A lot of people are still not aware of the concept of protecting one’s idea and even if they are, they do not know how to act on it.
There are a lot of reasons why one faces so many obstacles while enforcing Intellectual property rights in India. Although Indian IP law is thorough and at par with the rest of the world, still, there are issues which hamper the smooth sailing of the implementation process.
A major cause for concern is the high number of pending cases both at the Civil and Criminal Courts. Court battles that can stretch up to a number of years also aggravate the concern. Another reason for concern is the lack of transparency at all levels. Intellectual property system plays a pivotal role in framing industrial, trade and financial policies, for scientific and technological development of any country. Strong Intellectual Property legislations boost progress. Strong legislations should be supported by an equally strong, independent and non- discriminatory enforcement system.
On one hand a weak enforcement system fails to provide timely relief and on the other hand it consumes immense amount of time as well. The Honourable PM of India Shri. Narendra Modi wants foreign firms to come to India and set up state of the art production facilities and promote the ‘Make in India’ campaign. However, a very important question that we first need to ponder upon is why would an international firm come and set up its offices in a country and expose their innovative and inventive ideas for tiny enterprises to exploit and also, get away with .
In particular, the scenario for patent right is very demoralizing - the Indian courts do not easily grant injunctions and are not very generous in calculating and awarding damages. This often leads to a situation where IP right holders do not get the chance to enjoy their IP assets fully. The key challenge here is to sensitize the officials who are undertaking enforcement and also the judiciary to take up IP matters much more seriously by bringing them up on the policy radar. According to FICCI there is also a need to have a National Intellectual Property Enforcement Policy in India which will help in working towards realizing the vision of India in the realm of IP. This will facilitate the reaction of a strong socio- economic foundation and deep international trust. FICCI also suggested that there is a great need for enhancing of the working of the Indian Patent Office, thereby, bringing greater transparency in its working, and facilitating the Government in developing a policy for India.
[Comment: As per the latest data, available at https://www.ip-watch.org/2019/02/08/us-industry-ip-index-released-us-advances-india-shows-leadership-eu-singapore-near-top/, India has jumped to 36th place from the 44th place earlier]
Today infringers are not making mistakes. They are clever. They have access to the latest technology which helps them to produce copies which are hardly distinguishable from the originals. Thus another issue that needs immediate redressal is public attitude. A culture of buying genuine needs to be introduced in order to curb issues of IP enforcement.
India is growing at a fast pace and has everything to become a mighty nation. We need to protect our ideas and also refrain from infringing somebody else’s idea. Intellectual Property represents intellectual talent of a nation; we should respect foreign firm’s IPRs in India so that we can get a boost from foreign firms for our “Make in India” campaign.
It is very easy for us to settle for a first copy. But remember, Be careful, Buy Genuine, because Only Genuine will shine!
Shreedhar Sanjay Parundekar
Brand Defence Consulting Pvt Ltd