The National Intellectual Property Rights Policy, aimed at creating a “Creative India; Innovative India” was approved by the Indian cabinet on May 12, 2016. It is noteworthy that this is the first IPR policy that was ever framed by the Indian government, the policy was enacted to ensure compliance to the Doha Development Round and TRIPS Agreement. Along with the IPR policy, the Government of India also prepared a Scheme for IPR Awareness, under which a professional body – Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM), was also formed whose primary objective is to create IPR awareness across India. The duration of the scheme is for 3 Years (April 2017 – March 2020), and the efforts by CIPAM are currently underway.

Intellectual Property Rights – A Reform Transforming the Education Sector

One of the main objectives, Objective 2 of the 7 objectives that were laid down in the IPR policy,was:“Generation of IPR”. More specifically, under this objective, the policy states:

India has a large talent pool of scientific and technological talent spread over R&D institutions, enterprises, universities and technical institutes. There is a need to tap this fertile knowledge resource and stimulate the creation of IP assets.

It is also desirable to introduce IPRs as part of academic curriculum in educationalinstitutions, especially universities, law and technicalinstitutions.

Shortly after the creation of the policy, the University Grants Commission, which is the central body governing the universities and is responsible for maintaining the quality standards, issued a notice on July 15, 2016 requesting universities and affiliated colleges to devise, through academic council, inclusion of the IPR as a genericelective subject under the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS).

It might be worth noting that some of the leading universities in India already had IPR as an elective subject since more than 10 years – one such institution is the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, who was one of the pioneer colleges in India to offer an elective course in IPR for Undergraduate and Postgraduate students. Another leading institution that has been in existence since year 2006 is Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law (RGSOIPL), in IIT Kharagpur. The institute is one of its kind law school aimed at imparting legal education with IP specialization within the IIT System, with an objective of – “bringing synergy among science, technology, management and law”. The School offers a Six-Semester, Three-Year Full-Time residential program leading to the Degree of Bachelor of Laws (Hons) in Intellectual Property Law and is approved by the Bar Council of India.

Although, premiere institutions such as IITs have always lead the way, but the recently enacted National IPR policy and the Scheme for IPR Awareness, which is currently underway, also seems to have contributed in providing a much needed impetus to other academic institutions in promoting IPR education and awareness. According to our research, based on annual reports on Indian patent filings by the Patent office, following statistics emerge:

University/Institute 2017-2018 2015-2016 % Increase
INDIAN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (COLLECTIVELY) 540 391 38%
AMITY UNIVERSITY 119 99 20%
SAVEETHA DENTAL COLLEGE AND HOSPITALS, SAVEETHA UNIVERSITY 118
SRM UNIVERSITY 65
BHARATH UNIVERSITY 66 65 2%
SHOOLINI UNIVERSITY 62 22 182%
CHANDIGARH GROUP OF COLLEGES 58
INDIAN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE 58 46 26%
G. H. RAISONI COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING I G. H. R. LABS AND RESEARCH CENTRE 56 33 70%
SANDIP INSTITUTE OF ENGINEERING AND MANAGEMENT 46

Notably, there is an overall upward trend in patent filings by Academia. Also, some new entrants to the list of top 10 filers from Academia are observed in year 2017-2018 as compared to year 2015-2016. Additionally, it is also observed from the trends that – In year 2015-2016, the minimum number of patents filed by an institute appearing in top 10 filers from Academia was 14, whereas in year 2018-2019 it jumped to 40 – a 186% increase!

Learning from the history of IP education from the developed countries such as US and UK, we note that the IP education mainly started in Law schools, for example, the IP education in law schools in the UK and Europe began in 1980’s, due to growingdemand fueled by computer software litigation. Gradually, the IP education spread outside law schools into other disciplines, and as other IP related career paths opened up, the demand for IP education was fueled further. But all of this was not without initiatives by the Government – changes made to policies and laws contributed to awareness and study of IP, for example, changes made in accounting laws in the U.S. and Europe allowed for the inclusion on the balancesheet of IP assets at all times, not only when the IP asset is traded.Japan Patent Office also developed a project to ensure that IP education is prioritized in schools. Thus, active contribution by the government in the developed world led to an increased awareness and health growth of IPR.

To conclude, although India seems to be late in coming up with a robust IPR policy, but now that it is in place, it is safe to assume that IP will become one of the key focus of Academia. India, at least now, is set on a path to become an economy in which IP will play a key role, if not central. For the economy, it means growth based on solid foundation of IPR. For University/Institutions, it means a healthy growth, as there will be opportunities to generate revenue by licensing patents. For individual innovators, it means a security that their idea will not get stolen by some large corporate. For students, it means many other career opportunities which are likely to be opened up.

An article by Mr Amit Aggarwal:
Mr. Amit Aggarwal is the Co-Founder and Director of Effectual Services which provides end-to-end intellectual property and business and market research support. His responsibilities include directly leading the business development and support functions of the company. He is also responsible for the overall functioning of the company and for creating its growth strategy.

Amit Aggarwal – Co-Founder and Director of Effectual Services

He has extensive experience within the IP domain and has worked with leading multi-national and regional corporations in the areas of patent strategy, business planning, operations, patent infringement, prior art searches, patent litigation, and enforcement support services.

The awards and recognitions won by Mr Aggarwal include the IP Gem of India 2018 award by Questel Orbit which is awarded individually as well as the IP excellence in India 2018 award by Questel Orbit to an organization. He has also been individually recognized to be among the world’s leading IP strategists by IAM in 2018.

Mr Aggarwal has a Bachelors of Law (LLB) Degree with a specialization in intellectual property rights, a master’s degree in management, and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He has over 16 years of experience in the IPR industry. Mr Aggarwal also has worldwide academic certifications from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) a specialized UN agency, GIIP, IP Central, Lee and Hayes, and Microsoft. He has also undergone extensive training in patent law from US and European patent attorneys.

His hobbies include globetrotting, playing tennis, reading books and articles related to business strategy and reading research papers about the latest technologies. He also does pro-bono consulting on matters related to intellectual property for start-up’s and is an active member of industry bodies such as Indo French Chamber of Commerce, Indo American Chamber of Commerce and Indo German Chamber of Commerce.

Mr Aggarwal was born and brought up in Delhi and currently resides in Noida with his wife Meetika Aggarwal, daughter Prisha Aggarwal and his parents. His wife is an engineer and owns an organization called the “Skill Enhance Consultancy” and his daughter is studying in the 5th grade. Both parents of Mr Aggarwal are retired today after having served in the central and state governments.

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