ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Not Based on Evidence

New IPR Policy 2016

A critique of the new Intellectual Property Rights Policy 2016, designed to strengthen India's IPR regime "to foster creativity and innovation," indicates that it has put the interests of intellectual property owners, or global capital above that of public. Though some measures delineated in the policy are laudable, it is clear that the policy objectives are not evidence-based and are tailor-made to suit the requirements of the Western governments.

In May 2016, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) announced the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy. In all fairness, although this policy has been formulated after due deliberations, it is totally unnecessary, as India has clearly articulated laws on all types of IPRs (patents, trademarks, copyright, designs, geographical indication, Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout–Design Act and Biological Diversity Act). There are also a variety of institutions for administering and implementing the various provisions of these legislations. In fact, many commentators are of the view that India’s TRIPS Agreement (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) compliant patent regime is quite adequate for balancing the interests of both inventors of new technologies and its users. But the pharmaceutical multinational corporations (MNCs) and the government of the United States (US) have been extremely critical of India’s IPR regime. Private sector organisations in the US such as the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) consider it as weak and ineffectual. Although there has been much hue and cry that public policymaking should be evidence-based, the new IPR policy falls short of the standards that are expected of a real evidence-based policy, which is formulated on the basis of results emerging from empirical studies conducted on issues underlying the policy.

The Context

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