IP Rights in Union Budget 2020

Over the last decade, India’s startup economy and the technology industry have undoubtedly grown leaps and bounds by moving towards the ultimate path of success; however, we cannot say the same about the Intellectual Property (IP) ecosystem, including the trademark, patent, copyright, to name a few, in the country. For boosting innovation and creativity in India, there is indeed a dire need to bring in reforms in the Patent System and Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs), which shall further help in protecting innovations from the issues of Intellectual Property Infringement and theft efficiently. And to build that vision, Nirmala Sitharaman, the Union Finance Minister of India, pitched for improved IP Rights in the Union Budget 2020 by proposing a dedicated policy in this regard.

Sitharaman stated that India effectively needs to expand its base for knowledge-driven enterprises, and the only possible way to achieve the same is by proactively streamlining the entire IP creation and protection process, which shall, in turn, play a critical role in the set up of new business firms as well. She pitched a digital platform corresponding to facilitating a seamless application process and capturing of IP Rights. She further mentioned that a center would be well-established within an institute of excellence for solving the complexities and contributing immensely to innovation in the IP industry.

The Union Budget 2020 also discussed the need for having knowledge transition clusters, which would be capable of facilitating transfer and customization of IP Rights and available resources. These clusters would be set up across various technology sectors, including the new and emerging areas. FM Sitharaman also said that for the designing, fabrication, and the proof of concept, along with further scaling up of technology clusters, harboring such testbeds and other small scale manufacturing facilities would be established.

National IPR Policy

Quite recently, the Indian government emphasized that the National IPR Policy (adopted in 2016) has, without any second thoughts, paved a way to strengthen IP Rights in India. The government also stated that the share of domestic patent filings increased from 22 percent in 2013-14 to 34 percent in 2018-19.

Suman Reddy Eadunuri, MD, Pegasystems India, stated that with the establishment of a digital platform for seamless application and capture of IP Rights, India would successfully proceed towards the era of enhanced public-private partnership, where technology, in turn, shall play a decisive role.

Consequently, on a year-over-year (YOY) basis, India has been progressively creating a mark in the context of its innovation, for instance, the Global Innovation Index ranked India at the 52nd position in 2019, from 81st in 2015.

Gaurav Bali, the founder, and CEO of AmyGB.ai (a tech startup specializing in developing cutting edge AI-based platforms) stated that the push on data and knowledge centers, including the digital platforms for IPR, and the support for early-stage funding, play an integral role in creating a viable startup ecosystem that is capable of competing with other markets.

For enhancing innovation in the country, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce has suggested that the fees corresponding to the filing of patent applications for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and startups should be reduced by 60% from INR 4000 (for MSMEs) and INR 4400 (for startups) to INR 1,600 and INR 1,750 respectively.

However, as India is moving towards building innovation capacities, a recent report has shown that the nation requires bringing in new policies and guidelines for the protection, management, and enforcement of IP Rights in the present AI-driven world, where machines are creating and inventing solutions without much human intervention.