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INCENTIVISING DRUGS IN INDIA: YET ANOTHER IP LEGISLATION


It appears that the government is looking at more ways to incentivise drug discovery and to encourage patenting in this regard. A news item (http://www.indiaenews.com/business/20061125/30030.htm) states:

“India will soon have a law to provide incentives to scientists and public enterprises in the biotechnology sector for creating patents, Minister of Science and Technology Kapil Sibal said Saturday.

‘We are bringing in a legislation in the budget session of parliament that will enable scientists to receive one-third of the value of the patent created for drug discovery. Of the balance, one-third (33 percent) will go back to the project and the remaining to the public enterprise funding the project,’ Sibal said at a function here.

After inaugurating the drug discovery facility of Jubilant Organsys Ltd, the minister told reporters that the draft of the legislation was ready and would be hosted on the ministry’s website soon for public comments.”

As is normally the case with the new breed of “IP Journalism”, a lot is left to the imagination. Thus for example, although the key theme seems to be incentivising “drug discovery” the news item states: “India will soon have a law to provide incentives to scientists and public enterprises in the biotechnology sector for creating patents”. No doubt biotechnology is a hugely attractive area of drug research (biopharmaceuticals), but then creating drugs via the traditional chemistry route continues to remain the main focus of the pharma industry.

Secondly, it is not clear whether this proposed legislation will only cover “publicly funded research” (although this would be the more logical reading). Why should the government interfere with privately funded research. Or is it that even in such a private context, 33% of the proceeds would have to go to an employee. Perhaps the Indian government is conscious of the recent Japanese court rulings doling out huge compensation packages to employees responsible for brilliant inventions that made their employers rich (see the Blue Diode case in particular).

Yet another IP legislation–surely, that can’t be a bad thing!! Lets wait and see what the draft looks like. Till then, we have no option than to rely on inside sources and journalists that continue to tax our imagination.

Shamnad Basheer

Shamnad Basheer

Prof (Dr) Shamnad Basheer founded SpicyIP in 2005. He is currently the Honorary Research Chair of IP Law at Nirma University and a visiting professor of law at the National Law School (NLS), Bangalore. He is also the Founder of IDIA, a project to train underprivileged students for admissions to the leading law schools. He served for two years as an expert on the IP global advisory council (GAC) of the World Economic Forum (WEF). In 2015, he received the Infosys Prize in Humanities in 2015 for his work on legal education and on democratising the discourse around intellectual property law and policy. The jury was headed by Nobel laureate, Prof Amartya Sen. Professional History: After graduating from the NLS, Bangalore Professor Basheer joinedAnand and Anand, one of India’s leading IP firms. He went on to head their telecommunication and technology practice and was rated by the IFLR as a leading technology lawyer. He left for the University of Oxford to pursue post-graduate studies, completing the BCL, MPhil and DPhil as a Wellcome Trust scholar. His first academic appointment was at the George Washington University Law School, where he served as the Frank H Marks Visiting Associate Professor of IP Law. He then relocated to India in 2008 to take up the MHRD Chaired Professorship in IP Law at WB NUJS, a leading Indian law school. Prof Basheer has published widely and his articles have won awards, including those instituted by ATRIP and the Stanford Technology Law Review. He is consulted widely by the government, industry, international organisations and civil society on a variety of IP issues. He also serves on several government committees.

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