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India’s IP Policy: A Bare Act?


(This post has been co-authored with Prof. Shamnad Basheer)

It’s been more than two years since India’s National IPR Policy was first announced. Mired in one controversy after another, this policy has been the subject of much heated discussion and debate. We bring you the first ever comprehensive assessment of this policy, weighing in on its pros and cons (spoiler art: the cons far outweigh the pros!).

Thankfully our analysis has been published in the Indian Journal of Law and Technology, an open access journal, so you can access the article for free here.  You can also access this via an SCC subscription.

Our abstract is as below:

Amidst much fanfare, the Indian government unleashed an Intellectual Property Rights (“IPR”) policy around two years ago. This paper aims at the first ever comprehensive assessment of this policy, its purported rationale and implications. It argues that the policy is a shoddily drafted and poorly conceptualised document, which is resting on empirically unproven intellectual property (“IP”) assumptions. It is more faith-based than fact-based and endorses a fairly formalistic view of IP, taking it to be an end in itself. The paper goes on to demonstrate through the Carol Bacchi frame of “What’s the problem represented to be” (“WPR”) that the very rationale for the policy itself is unclear.”

Indeed when compared with the progressive South African IP policy that released on May 24, 2018, our policy falls short on several counts. As Prof. Carlos Correa rightly stated in a recent interview in the iconoclastic IP Watch: The recently adopted IP Policy by South Africa provides a good example of how a policy may be developed taking into account public interests rather than dogmatic views on the matter.” Also, a recent piece in the Business Line notes:

“The approach of the Indian IP Policy offers only lip service to the use of [TRIPS] flexibilities and does not offer any measures to optimise the use of flexibilities… Instead it focusses on enhancing the protection and enforcement of IPRs, which goes beyond its international obligations (referred as ‘TRIPS-plus’) without taking into consideration its negative implications. ”

Anyway, for those interested, we’ve excerpted some bits from our piece as below:

  “IV. Problems with the Policy

[T]he policy makes all the right noises and is long on its list of recommendations, but short of any real inventive solution or insightful measure as befits a national level IP policy of this stature. Most of its suggested solutions are rather trite at best, and regressive at worst. While the problems with the IP policy are many, we highlight the most egregious ones below:

A. Conflation of IP and Innovation

The greatest flaw of the policy lies in blindly exhorting a rapid “generation of IPRs”. This reflects the policy’s one-sided view of IP as an end in itself, rather than as a means to an end, namely creativity and innovation…

[It]…leans in favour of a rather formalistic and reductionist view of IP, failing to situate it within the larger context of the innovation ecosystem, refusing to acknowledge that while IP could accelerate innovation in certain technology sectors, it could block innovation in others.

This is a truth touted not only by those labeled as left-liberal ideologues, but also by powerful industry giants facing the brunt of a promiscuous patent regime — renowned giants such as Tesla’s Elon Musk, who castigated the present patent situation thus:

When I started out with my first company, Zip2, I thought patents were a good thing and worked hard to obtain them. And maybe they were good long ago, but too often these days they serve merely to sti- fle progress, entrench the positions of giant corporations and enrich those in the legal profession, rather than the actual inventors.

The policy assumes that innovation and creativity can be fostered only through increased IP protection, and fails to acknowledge the more significant role played by non-IP factors such as education, infrastructure, culture, financing, etc. as identified by the first think tank.

The policy sounds almost militant when it exhorts Indians to convert all conceivable knowledge to IP….

i. Public Funded Research and IP

i) The policy assumes that scientists fail to register their putative IP out of ignorance. However, history tells us that a number of visionary scientists consciously eschewed IP protection.

ii)… Some scientists may wish to patent their wares and enjoy the consequent exclusivity, while others may wish to promote a culture of open access, where new scientific discoveries are free of IP entanglements. There is no gainsaying the fact that IP registration, for the mere sake of registration, is non-sensical!… it bears noting that, on an empirical cost-benefit analysis, most U.S. universities have a negative balance sheet, when one compares the costs of IP registrations and licensing, as against the revenues through IP royalties.

iii) An undue focus on IP registration as a key performance indicator is likely to skew research priorities at scientific establishments, moving research away from basic into more applied streams that are more patentable and palatable to industry collaborators.

iv) Lastly, profiteering from publicly funded patents means that the tax payer pays twice…

The policy could have done better by encouraging a plurality of approaches for appropriating the value of publicly funded research, and vested more autonomy in the hands of scientists and researchers in this regard.

iii. IP Teaching and Respect

The policy advocates that IP be taught in schools and colleges. Leading one to ask: wouldn’t a course designed to make children more creative be better for fostering creativity than bogging them down with an additional course on intellectual property? Even if schools lack the resources to impart specific courses on creativity, they could at least ensure that they don’t stand in the way of what might otherwise have been a natural flowering of creativity in children.

A strenuous course on a legal regime whose alleged impact on innovation and creativity is highly contested is hardly the right recipe for a blossoming of creativity in schools.

Interestingly, the policy speaks about creating “respect” for IP as one of the steps for strengthening ‘Enforcement and Adjudication’. Why “respect”? Given that intellectual property has had a chequered history (with many viewing it as an inequitable tool of economic exploitation), “respect” is hardly the appropriate term.

The policy also proposes a long list of measures for spreading awareness of the benefit of IPRs, but none for making people aware of the various public interest exceptions inbuilt in the IP laws in order to ensure that the very purpose of creating these private rights is not defeated.

B. Other Problems with the Policy

Other problems with the policy are highlighted below:

i. Excessive Enforcement of IP and Criminalisation

The policy suggests a host of steps for strengthening of enforcement mechanisms for greater protection of IPRs, but none for balancing the enforcement, especially, criminal enforcement, that often compromises the civil liberties of defendants.

Most problematically, the policy proposes an amendment of the Cinematography Act, 1952 to criminalize unauthorized copying of movies. Undoubtedly, Bollywood requires some protection from the pirates, but criminalizing what is essentially a civil wrong (much like defamation) is tantamount to killing an ant with an elephant gun, not to mention the potential for abuse at the hands of our police.

Also, many a time piracy is one of the best ways to ensure access to notoriously priced IP goods. Importantly, a certain level of piracy has in the past proven to be beneficial to the IP owner in that it encourages adoption of the IP good by the consumer at a cheaper pirated cost, and later at a higher IP price when the consumer can so afford.

The proposition that piracy always reduces incentives to create is not empirically born out. Quite the contrary! Illustratively, notwithstanding the allegedly high rates of design piracy in the fashion industry, the creation of new designs continues to take place at a frenetic pace. Paradoxically, one might argue that piracy fosters more creativity in this industry at least. Further, the effect of piracy may not be homogenous across every industry. In other words, piracy may not reduce the legitimate sales of all goods in an industry. This was amply demonstrated by a study on the effect of the shutdown of Megaupload, a website that facilitated pirated content, on the box office revenues. The study concluded that the shutdown benefitted only those movies that premiered in a relatively large number of theaters and not those which had smaller audiences.

…The policy, however, does not take any of the above nuances into consideration. Rather, it proceeds on the simplistic assumption that piracy necessarily deters creativity and therefore recommends an ultra muscular mode of IP enforcement.

ii. IPR: Whither Balance?

The policy tends to treat IP as a “marketable financial asset” and an “economic tool”, and recommends a strict enforcement of IP rights. While it does mention the importance of “balanc[ing] the rights of the public in a manner conducive to social and economic welfare and to prevent misuse or abuse of IP rights”, it fails to include any specific proposal or recommendation that might help effectuate this balance.

iii. Whither Transparency?

The policy fails to make any mention of the need to foster transparency in the intellectual property and innovation ecosystem. As noted earlier, the law not only grants rights, but also imposes certain duties on IPR holders in order that they might serve the interests of the public….The think tank could have…recommended a stronger enforcement mechanism with respect to these important IP duties too: one that would have helped foster greater transparency within the innovation ecosystem.

iv. Shoddy Drafting and Research

The policy also suffers from extremely shoddy drafting and research, as evident from the following:

i) The policy speaks of the need for commercial IP courts, when only a few months prior to the unleashing of the policy, the government had steered a legislation creating specialized “commercial courts” to success. Further, the policy speaks about housing all of the IP agencies within DIPP, when again, this was done a month prior to the release of this present policy. The government should at least have been up to date on its own initiatives, when formulating the IP policy.

ii) The policy exhorts multinational corporations (MNCs) to have IP policies. One wonders why the government is going out of its way to do so, when MNCs are known to be very savvy IP players in the market. It is the MSMEs and individual inventors who require encouragement and guidance to help access a regime that is terribly expensive and unduly complex

V. A Few Commendable Proposals

To be fair, the policy does contain some commendable recommendations. We highlight the main ones below and draw attention to some of their shortcomings, where relevant:

  1. The policy encourages openness in innovation, specifically noting the desirability of the free and open source paradigm in domains such as software and even pharmaceuticals. Unfortunately, the inclusion of these proposals in the section on “IPR generation” renders the commitment towards openness a bit suspect.
  1. The policy speaks about alternatives to the current IP regime such as the institution of awards or prizes. Unfortunately, this appears to have been recommended not as alternative to IP, but as an incentive for creation of IP itself.

VI. An Uncreative Policy

…Many decades ago, a two-member committee (headed by Justice N.R. Ayyangar) conceptualised a patent policy that formed the blueprint of the present patent regime.97 By most accounts, this far-sighted policy triggered the remarkable growth of India’s pharmaceutical industry, earning it the moniker “pharmacy of the world”. It was a policy that was thoroughly researched, empirically validated and elegantly written in a little over a year. Compare and contrast that with the present policy that took more than two years and two separate think tanks to come to fruition. One beset with banality, dogged by dogma, rife with ridiculous assertions, lacking in any credible empirical support, and written in language that, at best, mimics a masterful memo from one bureaucrat to another. Surely we could have done better!

While proudly proclaiming the slogan “Creative India, Innovative India”, the policy states that “[t]here is an abundance of creative and innovative energies flowing in India”. It is a sheer pity that none of that abundant creative energy made it to this policy document, rendering it rather dull and dreary.

VII. What’s the Problem Represented to Be?

 Even apart from the various flaws in the text of the policy, one needs to revisit the rationale: What precisely is the point of this policy? Or to interrogate a bit deeper using Carol Bacchi’s frame, “What’s the problem represented to be?

[It] would appear that the policy appears to have stemmed out of a sincere belief that India lacks in creativity and innovation; and that a strengthening of IP protection would help enhance the rate and range of creativity and innovation. The assumption therefore (that underpins this implicit representation of the ‘problem’) is that IPRs necessarily ‘enhance’ creativity and innovation and also play a strong role in the same. Granted, India is lagging on several technological counts.

…But is it the country’s IP regime that is problematic? Or does the malaise lie elsewhere? Could it be cultural, where parents put undue pressure on their children to take up secure salaried jobs, as opposed to risky entrepreneurial ventures? Such factors are absent from the “problem representation” of the policy, and therein lies its biggest flaw. IP policy making should be driven by facts, and not faith. It must be based on empirical studies and stakeholder surveys and not on intuitions and assumptions; a point stressed by the First Think Tank Draft

IX. Conclusion

The Indian IP policy will go down in the annals of history as a wasted opportunity: an opportunity where we might have fashioned a progressive policy in a country that has thus far bucked mainstream pressure to conform to a developed country driven IP script. Instead, what we have is a dull and dreary document that contains soporific platitudes at best, and an aggressive one sided ratcheting of IP norms up at worst.

The policy lacks empirical rigour and appears more faith-based than fact based. It endorses a very formalistic and reductionist view of IP, taking it to be an end in itself. It ignores other factors such as education and cultural aversion to risk, which are likely to play a far greater role in triggering creativity.

To this end, the policy misses the larger macro frame where IP is but one tool in the overall innovation ecosystem; a more holistic approach might have made for a more progressive policy. In the end, one needs to ask: was there a need for such a policy at all? What purpose did it serve? Alas: Carol Bacchi’s thoughtful question remains unanswered!”

Image from here

11 comments.

  1. Anonymous

    Please write a piece on the dormant state of the IPAB for patents – does it take ‘forever’ to look for a patents technical member?

    Reply
  2. r k jain

    Refer to the critique assessment of the IPR policy in the blog. Since the article came from Dr. Basheer, I was motivated to read his full article on ijlt.in. The opening anecdotes and reading clearly conveyed that Dr. Basheer does not feel that the announced policy will in any way contribute to the strengthening of IP in India. It is okay to have an impression.
    But, let me share my own perspective. The policy is a course of action or principle proposed for an action and not an action by itself. So, what does the policy states.
    It starts with stating the seven objectives. Broadly it covers the whole IP paradigm covering start of innovation to final commercialization through the growth of human capital development to strengthening of systems. The paper does not reflect that the authors have any issues with the objectives of the policy. Hence the policy is not faulted in framing of the operational contours.
    The criticism is coming on the road map to approach to these objectives. Without discussing them in great detail, I just submit two points.
    Firstly, the authors seem to have misinterpreted of given very broad meanings to specific terms used to describe the steps for achieving the objectives. For example generation of IPRs being manifested as implying an end and pointing out that should be a means to an end, namely creativity and innovation. I think the authors are short charging the view of the policy makers terming it rather formalistic and reductionist view. Could it that the authors themselves are having formalistic and reductionist view in interpreting the policy makers view. Nowhere, I found that the policy makers have specifically negated the thinking of views of Elon musk or views of J.C. Bose. In fact the policy seems to bring home the points of strengthening the legal and legislative framework to avoid fleecing from likes of S. Ramkumar. A policy always adapts and evolves with time and requiremnts.
    Likewise for other shortcomings pointed by the authors. To end this post I would have liked to know what the specific steps Dr. Basheer would have proposed for achieving the set objectives. Regretfully, there wasn’t anything which could have enlightened us on what Dr. Basheer would have suggested.
    This criticism is like a medicine which will not make the patient healthy.
    R.K.jain
    Patent Agent

    Reply
    1. Pankhuri Agarwal Post author

      Hi Mr Jain, thank you for engaging with our paper and commenting on it!

      In your comment, you say that “The paper does not reflect that the authors have any issues with the objectives of the policy. The criticism is coming on the road map to approach to these objectives. Firstly, the authors seem to have misinterpreted of given very broad meanings to specific terms used to describe the steps for achieving the objectives. For example generation of IPRs being manifested as implying an end and pointing out that should be a means to an end, namely creativity and innovation.” We would like to bring to your notice that the policy states ‘Generation of IPRs’ as one of its objectives and not as a mere step for achieving a larger objective. And that’s exactly what we are criticising when we say the following in our paper:”The greatest flaw of the policy lies in blindly exhorting a rapid “generation of IPRs”.This reflects the policy’s one-sided view of IP as an end in itself, rather than as a means to an end, namely creativity and innovation…In fact, the entire edifice of the present IP policy is built on the highly tenuous claim that more IP means more innovation. The policy assumes that innovation and creativity can be fostered only through increased IP protection, and fails to acknowledge the more significant role played by non-IP factors such as education, infrastructure, culture, financing, etc. as identified by the first think tank.”

      You further say that “Nowhere, I found that the policy makers have specifically negated the thinking of views of Elon musk or views of J.C. Bose. In fact the policy seems to bring home the points of strengthening the legal and legislative framework to avoid fleecing from likes of S. Ramkumar.” We have nowhere stated in our paper that the policy has specifically negated the views of Elon Musk and J.C. Bose. We have referred to Musk’s views to put forward the point that IP does not necessarily accelerate innovation and in fact, it may even block innovation in certain sectors. Yet, the policy assumes otherwise and focuses only on IP and ignores the non-IP factors that play a more significant role in by non-IP factors such as education, infrastructure, culture, financing, etc. Further, we have referred to the views of J.C. Bose to drive home the point that not all scientists/researchers may want to convert their research output into IP assets. Yet, the policy assumes otherwise and suggests that their promotions and funding prospects be predicated on how quickly and frequently they convert their ideas into IP assets.

      Furthermore, you mention that “In fact the policy seems to bring home the points of strengthening the legal and legislative framework to avoid fleecing from likes of S. Ramkumar.” As mentioned in our paper, the policy doesn’t suggest any steps for preventing abuse of IP rights and for balancing them with public interest, while it suggests numerous steps for stimulating generation and commercialisation of IPRs. This further goes on to reflect that the policy treats IP as an end in itself and not as a mere means to an end i.e. innovation.

      Reply
      1. r k jain

        Thanks for your comments.
        Your reply has reinforced my conviction that your team is taking a very myopic view of the policy.
        The policy does not blindly exhort a rapid generation of IPRs. An unbiased reading will allow you to observe that great emphasis has been laid on the development of adjudication systems and human capital etc. all of which are pillars on which the edifice of innovation and creativity can only be built.
        Kindly go through the Ayyengar report also. You will understand that the committee perceived IPRs as a means for creating a pathway for incentivising innovation. It was a means to a not an end.
        The contention that the policy is inimical to inventors who may want their inventions to be patented or on the other extreme inventors prohibiting growth in specific sectors through wanton patenting is also flawed. The policy does not in any way stops growth of plain scientific research but rather induces scientific community to think of potential benefits through IPRs. Does not the govt induce you to pay taxes by highlighting the accrued benefits of paying taxes?
        And regarding the blockage or stopping growth in specific sectors, that is a danger which arises more from malfeasance intentions rather than policy. The policy braces for counter systems to it.
        Further protection of inventor rights and balancing them with public interest can only be strengthened by robust and people friendly systems rather than by draconian laws which will only fuel resentment, misuse and protracted litigation.
        I hold the view that the policy is being not seen in the proper perspective and any criticism is better appreciated if some concrete suggestions are also given on how the policy makers could have done with.
        I can’t help recall the “Beauty is in the eyes of beholder”
        r.k.jain
        patent agent

        Reply
        1. Shamnad BasheerShamnad Basheer

          Myopic? Really Mr Jain? How so? In case we’ve missed out the long term wonders of this policy, pray do enlighten us. And not just by making “bare” assertions (you seem to have been inspired by the policy in that regard: and that is our biggest grouse against the policy: that when you dig deep, it is but bare!). I wonder whether you can substantiate all the points you keep raising (and I’m not sure your second set of comments adds anything to the first set you dished out) by specific references to parts of the policy. As we have done. Rather than merely making blanket assertions. Eg. the policy provides space for JC Bose who didn’t want to patent etc. How so? The policy very clear suggests a mandate to patent to public research institutions. In fact it says that all knowledge must be protected. Please read our critique carefully where we’ve cited the policy propositions we take issue with. Similarly if you wish to defend the policy, please cite parts of the policy that make your point. And not just make blanket bare assertions. Thanks!

          Reply
          1. r k jain

            Hello Dr. Basheer,
            I responded only after reading your paper in IJLT. I take this opportunity to make specific submissions point wise with reference to your article.
            A policy must be seen firstly through the objectives it addresses and subsequently through the steps which elucidates towards achieving those objectives.
            The policy narrates seven objectives which have been clearly outlined/differentiated, even though it can be seen that in an effective IPR paradigm all the aspects are intricately interconnected. For example in the absence of an efficient legal and legislative framework , generation of new IPRs will be inconsequential as protection will not be available.
            The very fact that the policy makers have had the sense to first start with clearly demarcating the objectives in clear unambiguous language is a big plus. It further allows them to demarcate steps to sequential targeting each of them. These two steps clearly manifest that the policy makers has clear conceptual grasp on the direction on which they wanted the policy to take shape. And conceptual grasp can only come when there a clear understandings of what is lacking and what is required to be done.
            I now instead of commenting on their steps, I make my submissions i.r.o of the issues highlighted in critique paper.
            Conflation of IP and innovation: The biggest flaw in the policy has been cited as what is termed as blindly exhorting a rapid generation of IPRs. This conclusion probably stems from the policy linkage of IPRs with research funding and promotion. The first committee is said to have cautioned against this- using the words careful calibration/ holistic approach etc.
            While these generic words may look attractive in article in journal they are of little value. Any policy is only as good as the concrete steps it enshrines for its actual implementation. It is important to demarcate the fact that India is a developing country which does not have a very high scientific temperament amongst its general populace (compare no of engineers with no. of scientists) and what the policy does is to provide a clear measurable yardstick through which comparison and evaluation between scientific achievements of institutes can be made. You need to have a few athletes in the stadium to start a race.
            Different approaches can only be successful only in a developed scientific ecosystem such as that of developed countries. There government do not have concerns on generating scientific temperament among their industries but rather they have to bring in laws to counter patent trolls and misuse.
            Conflation of IP and Innovation is essential but the difference lies in understanding that this policy is a catalyst and not an element in itself. Pls remember that only the paranoid survive but they do not achieve greatness.
            Regarding the assertion that policy promotes monetisation of IPRs indiscriminately. Kindly observe that the policy clearly emphasises on all other facets of IPR state. A robust system runs on clear precise principles even though they may not be perfect but it is best bet against misuse.

            Next point in the article is through the quote of scientist J.C.Bose which highlights the view of some scientists being averse to profiteering from patents. To get into depth of this perspective and not going by plain reading, pls recognise the distinction between pure scientific research and reds arch leading to industrial application. Only very few scientific institutes such as DRDO’S, CSIR, Incubation centres of IITs fall in the latter category. The Indian companies are nowhere in IP ecosystem to produce state of art products. The Indian industry does not create but assembles. Please note.
            In developed countries it is reverse. They are creating Boeings, Bullet Trains, commercial space ships – all of them are products of innovation developed on the base of earlier pure research. In fact leading conglomerates like GE, IBM are the major sponsors of research work in their scientific institutes and universities.
            A plurality of approaches makes for an optimal policy but analogously a plethora of directions will not allow a person to reach to any destination.
            Regarding the point that the policy will take research away from basis into more applied streams, I can only submit that it betrays lack of understanding of scientific thought process. Pls note that in developed countries organizations like NASA are able to do space research only because they have a self sustained progressive state of art product innovation system. Wherelse could they have got a probe capable of scratching the cusp of sun if it had not been supported by multifarious multi- speciality industrial set up. ISRO inevitably is now looking at industry to come with innovative products to reduce costs of its satellites. India does not have a leeway to influence industry to do research without promising returns. The Indian Government has to keep funding and support basic research with public funds in the hope that industry would possibly overtime come of age to see value in pure research. The policy aims to prepare industry for that.
            I hope I have given you enough specifics regarding the points in your paper and close now for paucity of time and hope that this reading perhaps would make you see my perspective. If this has been the case then I will say that it has been my IPR generated otherwise plain discussions or critique does not count much.
            In respect,
            R.K.Jain
            Patent Agent

          2. Shamnad BasheerShamnad Basheer

            Some many problematic assertions with your response that I dont even know where to begin:
            1. You state: “The first committee is said to have cautioned against this- using the words careful calibration/ holistic approach etc. While these generic words may look attractive in article in journal they are of little value.”

            My response: This precisely is the problem with “faith based” IP dogma, as you seem to be advocating (and the IP policy document as well). You need a holistic view on innovation–if you think innovation is only about IP and more IP will mean more innovation, you’re one of the faith based ones whose been proven empirically wrong time and again. And it is here that we cite some economic literature (empirical studies etc) and musks views etc. Kindly read those pieces. These are empirically validated assertions and not just “generic’ words (incidentally I can;t help but notice the irony of you pontificating on “generic” assertions whilst defending a policy that is but bare in terms of its generic assertions.

            2. you state: “It is important to demarcate the fact that India is a developing country which does not have a very high scientific temperament amongst its general populace (compare no of engineers with no. of scientists) and what the policy does is to provide a clear measurable yardstick through which comparison and evaluation between scientific achievements of institutes can be made.”

            My response: And yet again, you walk into the faith based IP dogma that our measure of scientific temperament must come from “IP” registrations. Ever heard of CSIR and what came of the many IP registrations. And how one of the CSIR directors had to pull back on this foolhardy militant approach to IP. Kindly educate yourself a bit more on these nuances and then we can have a more engaged debate.

            Lots more to respond, but time is short. So once you’re back after reading some of the empirical literature that causes you to be a bit more skeptical about your unabashed IP dogma, we can continue. Thanks!

  3. Pankhuri Agarwal Post author

    Emphasis on development of adjudication systems and human capital is also all for enforcement/commercialisation of IPRs only. So, how does that show that the policy treats IPRs as a means and not an end? If you read the paper carefully, we have already lauded the Ayyangar report and contrasted it with the current policy. Pl refer to the below extract from the paper:

    “Many decades ago, a two-member committee (headed by Justice N.R. Ayyangar) conceptualised a patent policy that formed the blueprint of the present patent regime. By most accounts, this far-sighted policy triggered the remarkable growth of India’s pharmaceutical industry, earning it the moniker “pharmacy of the world”. It was a policy that was thoroughly researched, empirically validated and elegantly written in a little over a year. Compare and contrast that with the present policy that took more than two years and two separate think tanks to come to fruition. One beset with banality, dogged by dogma, rife with ridiculous assertions, lacking in any credible empirical support, and written in language that, at best, mimics a masterful memo from one bureaucrat to another. Surely we could have done better!”

    As you rightly pointed out Ayyangar report definitely treats IP as a means and not an end. But how does treatment of IP as a means by the Ayyangar report show that the present policy also treats IP as a means and not an end?

    Also, how does the policy induce scientific community to merely think of potential benefits through IPRs. It literally forces them by suggesting that promotions etc be made dependent on them. How exactly does the policy supports the likes of JC Bose who don’t wish to patent? I don’t understand the analogy with payment of taxes. But why should the govt induce me to convert my research into IP instead of simply encouraging me to innovate? Shouldn’t the focus be on the latter if the policy doesn’t treat IP as an end as you believe?

    What counter systems does the policy propose regarding blocking of innovation in specific sectors? Leave alone counter systems, the policy does not even account for such a possibility, which amply reflects that it blindly exhorts rapid generation of IPRs.

    Where did we say that the policy should have proposed draconian laws for promoting balance between private IP rights and public interest? What we have argued is that the policy does not propose any measures towards effectuating this balance. For instance, the policy doesn’t make any mention of IPR duties or user rights. As stated in the paper: “It proposes a long list of measures for spreading awareness of the benefit of IPRs, but none for making people aware of the various public interest exceptions inbuilt in the IP laws in order to ensure that the very purpose of creating these private rights is not defeated.”

    You may contrast our policy with the recently approved South African IP policy that we have referred to in our post. As Prof. Carlos Correa has rightly stated in a recent interview in the IP Watch: “The recently adopted IP Policy by South Africa provides a good example of how a policy may be developed taking into account public interests rather than dogmatic views on the matter.”

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Dr. Basheer,
      I will just submit that my holistic view of IP is just not confined to innovation and i fully appreciate that importance of other aspects of IP ecosystem. I regret that I have not been able to make you appreciate my point of view. Nevertheless, it was nice learning and interacting on your perspective. Thanks for a very engaging session.
      Reagrds
      R.K.Jain
      Patent agent

      Reply

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