Innovation Patent

DIPP forgets about NIIPM & Indian law firms, signs deal with WIPO


Earlier this month, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) announced that it had signed a deal with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) to establish Technology and Innovation Support Centres (TISC) in India. According to the press release put out by the DIPP, the TISCs are meant to provide innovators in developing countries with high quality technology, information and related services to help them create, protect and manage their intellectual property. As per the same press release, once established the TISCs will provide the following services:

  • Access to online patent and non-patent (scientific and technical) resources and IP-related publications;
  • Assistance in searching and retrieving technology information;
  • Training in database search;
  • On-demand searches (novelty, state-of-the-art and infringement);
  • Monitoring technology and competitors;
  • Basic information on industrial property laws, management and strategy, and technology commercialization and marketing

As per WIPO’s website, TISCs were aimed at fulfilling Recommendation No. 8 of the Development Agenda which calls on WIPO to “[facilitate] the national offices of developing countries, especially LDCs, as well as their regional and sub-regional intellectual property organizations to access specialized databases…”. Going by a report published by WIPO, these TISCs have been set up primarily in Africa, with a few established in South America and a small sprinkling in Europe and Asia.

What I cannot understand is why the DIPP is signing deals with WIPO to establish these centres when it has access to resources like the National Institute of Intellectual Property Management (NIIPM) and the combined intellectual faculties of all of India’s IP law firms.

The main objectives of the NIIPM in its own words are as follows: “The main objectives of this institute is to cater to the need of training of Examiners of Patents, Designs, Trademarks and Geographical Indications, IP professionals, IP managers, imparting basic education to user communities, government functionaries and stake holders involved in creation, commercialization and management of intellectual property rights, facilitate research on IP related issues including preparation of study reports and policy analysis of relevance to Government.” This is precisely the function that has now been handed over to TISCs that will be established with WIPO. Is the DIPP now admitting that NIIPM which functions under the Ministry of Commerce has failed in its mission?

Apart from NIIPM, India has a mix of long established and younger patent law firms that provide almost identical services as the proposed TISCs. India’s older patent law firm, DePenning & DePenning was established in 1856. The simple point that I am trying to make is that India has a significant domestic capability to provide services and training required to protect IP generated by Indian inventors.

By allowing WIPO to establish TISCs and charge for the same, the DIPP is simply diverting business away from Indian law firms. At a time when the Modi government is beating the drum of ‘Make in India’, why is the DIPP ignoring domestic capability and striking deals with WIPO?

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Prashant Reddy

Prashant Reddy

T. Prashant Reddy graduated from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, with a B.A.LLB (Hons.) degree in 2008. He later graduated with a LLM degree (Law, Science & Technology) from the Stanford Law School in 2013. Prashant has worked with law firms in Delhi and in Indian academia. He is currently a Research Associate at Applied Research Centre for Intellectual Assets and the Law in Asia (ARCIALA), Singapore Management University.

3 comments.

  1. Yuvraj Dalvi

    Prashant you have misunderstood the scenario, DIPP is not doubting capability of Indian patent law firms, what they are actually pursuing is in line with WIPO’s current provision for third world countries where it provides subsidized/low price/free access to commercial databases like DERWENT LEXIS NEXIS STN etc. The only problem till date was India was never eligible till date for such free access. This is a good move indeed, only they could have done some brainstorming with Indian law firms and industries before proceeding.

    The WIPO Patent Information Services for Developing Countries (WPIS) are offered free of charge on the basis of contributions made by in the main part by a number of industrial property offices world-wide (Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cuba, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom), as well as the European Patent Office. The on-line searches undertaken by WIPO are made possible by the courtesy of Derwent Information. Furthermore, many industrial property offices also provide free of charge copies of their national patent documents (e.g. Belgium, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Republic of Korea, South Africa, etc.)

    These services have proved to be highly successful, which is reflected in the number of users who regularly ask for information, as well as the number and diversity of requests received. So far, 118 countries and intergovernmental organizations have benefited from WIPO’s free-of-charge patent information services. Since the start of the program in 1975, until the end of August 2005, almost 15,000 search requests have been processed free of charge from over 90 developing countries and 14 intergovernmental organizations and countries in transition. In the year 2004, 1,154 search requests (including ICSEI) were received from 39 developing countries. These reports also covered special requests for novelty search and substantive examination as to the patentability of patent applications in developing countries as well as special requests for search and examination of patent applications submitted by ARIPO. WIPO has undertaken all possible steps to meet this increasing demand and to augment both the capacities allotted and the diversity of the services.

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  2. Anonymous

    Don’t think it is going to make any difference to the Indian law firms as such. Most of the Indian firms depend on Patents filed in India from international applicants. If the remuneration set by the Indian govt for the Patent facilitators is anything to go by, the Indian law firms would feel far better to stay away from such work. India will take few more yrs to mature in IP. The understanding of the top management and govt authorities with respect to IP is still very naive.

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  3. Anonymous

    NIIPM is indeed an useless and failed organization. Headed by an incompetent person who have absolutely no knowledge of Patent Law and Practice, neither any administrative capability, NIIPM neither has able full time human resources to provide training nor is capable of imparting efficient and worthwhile training. They bring controllers from patent offices in Mumbai and other locations for training periodically and It will be like a Holidaying trip for them at the expense of tax payers’ money. They just mumble something, rather repeatedly and leave. They handle every training activity in a very lackadaisical manner and every stage of it will reflect their capability and efficiency.

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