India’s intellectual property sector has experienced remarkable growth and progress in the year 2023, which is expected to impact the country’s innovation and economic growth significantly. In the past year, there have been several major legislative developments in India’s intellectual property landscape, including proposed amendments to the Patent Rules, the establishment of the IP Division at the Delhi and Madras High Court, and the introduction of new policies for the Indian space and deep tech startup sectors. These developments are expected to provide greater clarity and transparency in the intellectual property system, making it easier for innovators and businesses to protect their ideas and inventions.
Following the establishment of the Intellectual Property Division and the announcement of IPD Rules by the High Court of Delhi, the High Court of Madras also created an Intellectual Property Division to handle disputes and cases related to IPR. This division is presided over by a single-judge bench and a Division Bench. The Madras High Court has also notified the “Madras High Court Intellectual Property Rights Division Rules, 2022”, which govern and regulate the proceedings before the IP Division. The IPD Rules came into effect on April 5, 2023, and the IPD had its first sitting on April 13, 2023, after its inauguration on April 12, 2023.
The Scheme for Startups Intellectual Property Protection (SIPP) is a vital initiative by the Government of India to promote and safeguard the intellectual property rights of startups and innovators in the country. The scheme focuses on raising awareness among startups about the importance of intellectual property rights and providing them with the necessary assistance to protect their patents, trademarks, and designs in India and abroad. The scheme was launched in 2016 on a pilot basis and was extended until March 31, 2023. The scheme has now been modified and extended for three years until March 31, 2026. Certain aspects of the scheme have been modified effective April 1, 2023, based on the experience gained from its implementation.
The Indian government also published the Indian Space Policy 2023 to increase the involvement of non-governmental entities (NGEs) in end-to-end space activities and provide them with a level playing field. The policy aims to enhance the country’s space capabilities by encouraging advanced research and development in the space sector and promoting space-related education and innovation. The policy document defines the roles and responsibilities of the different entities and organisations involved in the space sector.
The Union Cabinet approved the National Research Foundation (NRF) Bill 2023 on June 28, 2023. This bill seeks to reshape India’s research landscape and promote scientific innovation to new heights. Its objective is to create groundbreaking discoveries and ensure that India is at the forefront of global research excellence across various domains. Once enacted, this bill will revolutionise India’s research ecosystem by creating opportunities for transformative advancements in science and technology.
On July 24, 2023, the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) issued a public notice in response to complaints from stakeholders and the general public. The notice clarifies that no music license is required to perform or communicate any literary, dramatic, musical or sound recording work at any religious ceremony, including marriage ceremonies. This exception is given under Section 52(1)(za) of the Copyright Act, 1957.
Earlier this year, the Indian government also announced its decision to lay down an action plan and blueprint for promoting and institutionalising intellectual property financing in India. This step aims to improve the country’s finances by leveraging IP rights vested in patents, trademarks, designs, copyrights, etc. The strategic blueprint and action plan will be formulated under the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), which is the nodal department for the administration of the IP regime in India.
The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which comes in furtherance of the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2021, received the nod from Lok Sabha on July 31. The bill proposes some key changes to the Cinematograph Act, 1952, with respect to the certification of films, copyright coverage, the menace of piracy, and the extent of governmental control over the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
The draft Patent Rules were presented recently to introduce critical changes to the Indian patent regime in order to streamline and modernise patent procedures. To foster a more inclusive and supportive IP ecosystem, the CGPDTM in India has sought input and suggestions from IP stakeholders to revise the current IP manuals.
India is looking forward to acceding to critical international agreements administered by WIPO, namely the Strasbourg Agreement concerning the International Patent Classification (as amended in 1979), the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs (adopted in 1999), and the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications (adopted in 2015). This move will harmonise India’s overall Designs, Patents and GI protection system.
India’s National Deep Tech Startup Policy is a well-rounded approach to boosting and nurturing deep tech startups in the country. The policy elucidates the concept of deep tech startups and underscores the need to attract and retain talent in this field. It also proposes various initiatives like scholarships, fellowships, and tax incentives to attract and retain talent in the deep tech sector.
It would not be wrong to claim that India has made significant strides in its approach to intellectual property rights during the past year. The country is shifting towards a more positive outlook on IP rights through various legal reforms and initiatives. This transformation is expected to profoundly impact the country’s IP landscape, resulting in increased protection, enforcement, and commercialisation of intellectual property. Overall, these developments represent a significant step forward for India’s innovation ecosystem and are a promising sign for the future of IP rights in the country.
Authors: Manisha Singh and Shivi Gupta
First Published By: FICCI Newsletter – 2023 Dec