Intellectual property rights came under intense scrutiny at a day-long awareness workshop organised by the National Institute of Design (NID) in the Capital on March 13, 2010. The workshop, fourth in the series, sought to demystify the entire process of getting a design registered and saw lively debates on the entire patenting process. The programme was jointly organised by NID and the Office of the Controller General Patents, Designs and Trademarks, Government of India.
The day-long conference was inaugurated by chief guest Subas Pani, CMD, India Trade Promotion Organisation, who delivered the keynote address.
Starting the day’s proceedings, Pradyumna Vyas, Director, National Institute of Design, delivered the welcome address and opening comments. Giving the example of India’s rich heritage, Vyas said, “We are very weak in documentation of our intellectual property. We are not getting a premium on the knowledge that we have, but documentation can play a big role in it. We need to build up our own strengths to become a global leader.”
PH kurian, IAS, Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademark, stated, “Intellectual property became common coinage in India only post-TRIPS. We have never given monopoly rights to the creator in India, whereas in the West, this right have been given to incentivise the creator to create more.”
He further said, “People have an apprehension in their minds about the Government system, maybe that’s why they don’t opt for registration of intellectual property. All one needs is Rs 1000, to register one’s design and the whole process of design registration has also been simplified. At present, the process is a manual one, but the registration will be made online soon.”
Bhavin Kothari, Head of IPR Cell at NID, explained, “Originality and novelty are the main criteria for any kind of IPR. An idea cannot be protected, but the expression of the idea can be protected in different ways.”
He added, “An invention is an original creation of the human mind that has economic value and needs protection by law. IP is intangible, having tangible expression. IPR enhances public domain and competitiveness. It enhances public domain as disclosure is an inherent part of the protection process. IPR promotes innovation and protects the rights of the innovator.”
Navneet Bhushan of Crafitti Consulting noted, “There is a dearth of awareness regarding what needs protection and how to go about it. Even if something seems absurd right now, it may be valuable after a few years. Patenting is a funny business for the inventers, but it’s serious business for the lawyers. Value of the patent has to be recognised by all. There is need to make patents robust, which requires innovation. Moreover, there has to be a synergy between the legal system and inventor to create wealth.”
Highlighting the problems faced by designers, Amit Gulati of inCUBIS, a design services company, said, “Lots of people that I have worked with are not much concerned about their rights. In India, it is very difficult for a designer to get his due because of less awareness about registration.” He further said, “There is need to innovate ahead of the competition. One needs to go back to the drawing board and not be satisfied with just a big idea. Also, one should change when in a successful streak and not be forced to change by the market diktats.