There is an evident surge in the number of startups and entrepreneurs globallyin recent years, and one of the predominant reasons for such propulsion is a healthy intellectual property landscape. An effective IP system promotes innovation, enabling inventors and creators to be more secure in their IP rights. When it comes to the Indian market, the proliferation in the number of startups, MSMEs, and novelty creators has deepened the requirement for a sturdier IP landscape. The Government of India’s “Atmanirbhar Bharat” (“Self-reliant India”) and “Make in India” initiatives combined with the National IPR Policy are some of the endeavours that have encouraged innovation and creativity significantly. One of the latest additions to the many steps towards strengthening the IP ecosystem is the Union Budget 2023-24 presented by the Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1, 2023.
Budget Allocation to the IP Landscape
Based on the theme of “Sabka Saath Sabka Prayas” (“Everyone’s support, Everyone’s effort”) and the advent of “Amrit Kaal” (auspicious period) for the Indian economy, the Budget 2023-24 focuses on seven priorities called “Saptarishi” (seven great sages)namely, inclusive development, reaching the last mile, infrastructure and investment, unleashing the potential, green growth, youth power and financial sector. To continue the efforts towards reinforcing the prominence of intellectual property and intangible assets, a significantly hiked budget has been apportioned that is aimed to bring relevant improvements to the IP regime in India.
There has been a noticeable increase in the funds allocated for the intellectual property landscape this year, with over INR 328.98 crore (approx. USD 40.1 M) assigned – an increase of around 15% from the last year’s INR 285.41 crore (approx. USD 38.4 M). The funds are allocated to the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks and the Copyright Office with a view to fostering a more technologically-powered, approachable, and prompt IP framework.
Around INR 281.60 (approx. USD 34.3 M) crore are allocated for the fortification of the Intellectual Policy Rights Policy Management, and IDCGPDTM – Infrastructure Development in Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks.
Additionally, INR 0.83 crore (approx. USD 101,291) has been allocated in furtherance of the alliance between the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) and WIPO based on the Service Level Agreement (SLA) to set up Technology and Innovation Support Centres (TISC) Network in India. The Indian Government has been in association with WIPO in an endeavour to bolster the country’s Intellectual Property landscape. The DPIIT serves as the nodal department for the realisation of such initiatives between the GoI and WIPO. In the revised estimate of budget 2022-23, the budget allocation for this was INR 0.80 crore (USD 97,608).
Utilisation of the Budget
The CGPDTM has been continually making efforts to nurture a comprehensive IP arena that is easily accessible to inventors and creators. The budget will be utilised for further enhancements in the Offices of Controller General of Patent Designs and Trade Marks. This includes more transparent and streamlined dissemination of IP information, more productivity, and increased awareness of IP. The objective is to make appropriate improvements to the Indian IP system parallel to the growth of IP in other countries such as the USA, China, Japan, etc. The budget will also be utilised for improved administration and management of the Copyright Office, execution of outreach programmes, and other operating overheads of the Office.
An altered and combined version of the two schemes – the Cell for Intellectual Property Rights Promotion & Management (CIPAM) and the Scheme for Pedagogy & Research in IPRs for Holistic Education and Academia (SPRIHA), the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy Management has been framed as per the National IPR Policy. In accordance with the Policy’s objectives, the budget will be spent on fostering IPR awareness, commercialisation of IP, and further promotion of IP teaching, studies & research in institutions.
Another vital segment where the budget will be spent on is the Infrastructure Development in the Controller General of Patents Designs and Trade Marks (IDCGPDTM). The enhanced budget will provide the necessary funds for infrastructure upgrades across different CDPDTM offices.
Additional IP-Related Provisions in Budget 2023
The Budget 2023 is designed on the vision of Amrit Kaal, a period for a technology-driven and knowledge-based economy. In addition to a hiked budget for nurturing the IP landscape, the budget has also introduced numerous initiatives that further innovation and creativity in the country.
PM VIshwakarma KAushal Samman (PM VIKAS):
The budget has introduced a package for assistance to the craftspeople and artisans (Vishwakarma) of the country, enabling them to improve the quality of their products and the size & extent of their operations. The scheme’s benefits are aimed to help such artisans not only financially, but also in facilitating access to advanced training, skills, and understanding of the latest and green technologies, brand promotion, digital payments, social security, and local & international market nexus. The scheme will directly prompt more creativity in the country by providing them with the needed financial and educational support, along with a better understanding of the value that Intellectual Property creation holds.
The Indian Government has also provided a new programmeto encourage research and innovation in pharmaceuticals. Through the various centres for excellence, the programme aims to drive more research and development in priority sectorsand promote bio-innovation & bio-manufacturing in the country. Patent protection is a critical aspect when it comes to the future of the Indian pharmaceutical industry. With the programme driving more innovation in the industry, innovators would need to opt for such protection to obtain an exclusive position in the global markets.
Multidisciplinary Courses for Medical Devices
A dedicated knowledge-based programme to offer multidisciplinary courses for medical devices to be offered in existing institutions has been aimed to prepare the next generation for ultramodern medical technologies, high-end manufacturing & research, and thereby drive more innovation and creation of IP assets.
The Budget 2023 is progressive, inclusive, and innovation-driven to say the least. The significant increase in the allocation of funds towards the development of the Intellectual Property landscape is an evident measure by the Government to further an inclusive economy that is knowledge-based and innovation-fuelled.
The country’s IP ecosystem has seen meaningful procedural changes, infrastructural growth, and better awareness about the various intellectual properties. However, the hiked budget will provide the relevant financial provisions to overcome the vacuums that still exist when the Indian IP arena is compared to its foreign peers.Not only will these funds enable the IP offices to cover the gaps in manpower, but also amalgamate necessary cutting-edge technology systems and readier IP prosecution practices.
Furthermore, the budget will consolidate the role of the CGPDTM and other IP offices as prolific collaborators working towards a common goal of creating a robust IP network in the country. The budget 2023 truly sets the tone for Amrit Kaal in the Indian economy, not only in fiscal terms, but also for infrastructural growth, innovation, IP awareness, and digital transformation.