Two-Thirds Of Indian Businesses Lack IP Policy

by CXOtoday News Desk    Apr 27, 2015

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While Intellectual Property (IP) is high on the agenda for Indian corporate leadership, 67% said India lacks a sound IP policy. Over 50% of the respondents pointed out that the implementation is ineffective, according to a recent study by research and advocacy firm Strategic Partners Group.

The study conducted among 150 senior representatives in leadership roles across six sectors in the country namely pharma and healthcare, IT, legal, music/entertainment and academia revealed that a majority of the Indian CEOs strongly favor the need for a sustainable intellectual property (IP) framework in India, saying that it is a key driver to attract foreign direct investment and foster economic growth by encouraging R&D in the country. 

IP is an evolving space in India that needs to find its natural optimal point as the stakeholders across sectors understand fair and equitable use of IP in value creation. A majority of the respondents in each sector said that IP is one of the key drivers to attract foreign direct investment and foster economic growth. Interestingly, brand protection and innovation emerged as the two keywords that are associated with IP. Respondents pointed out that a holistic IP ecosystem would encourage R&D and thereby help India realize its potential as a developed economy.

However, only 31% said India has a sound IP policy.  Majority believe that policy makers and government have a critical role to play in creating a conducive IP environment with 65% saying policy makers are not doing enough.  29% said that policy makers are doing their bit but 75% of them pointed out that there is scope for improvement.

Aman Gupta, Managing Partner, SPAG Asia said, “India models the premise that innovation is the key to the success and sustainability of a robust economy. With the new Indian regimes firm plans to spell out a comprehensive intellectual property rights (IPR) policy, India evidently strives towards accelerated economic progress. This survey has been commissioned with the intent to be a constructive tool for policy makers to hear the voices of the Indian corporate leadership and thereby develop a transparent and consistent framework for India’s long-term interests.”

“The survey is a strategic offering and an effort to make IP a part of the conversation beyond a small group and take the views of the larger masses to the decision makers. Countries that earn a reputation for promoting and protecting creative capital reap important domestic benefits. They incentivize substantial R&D investments necessary for job creation and fostering a legal and financial infrastructure in the economy that enables the successful commercialization of new products. This opinion poll successfully surfaces the expectations of Indian business leadership from the IP framework which can ensure the right boost the economy deserves,” he added.

Here are some expert opinions on the survey findings:

According to Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairperson and MD, Biocon said, “The pharma sector in particular has raised the IP platform to a new level of global debate. Intellectual Property (IP) contributes significantly for research and commercialization strategies that enable protection of the inventions or innovations from competitive forces. It also provides a first mover advantage in many cases. IP also enables product positioning, lifecycle management as well as asset monetization and valuation. Above all, IP is a key value driver for any organization that clearly comes out in the report findings.”

Kulmeet Makar, CEO, The Film & TV Guild of India said, “IP plays an important role in catalyzing innovation from mind to market or from script to screen and needs to be protected at all levels. The Indian film and television industry is growing at a CAGR of 17% contributing approximately 50,000 crores to the national exchequer and creates close to 1.8 million jobs. The major IP issue in the case of the entertainment and film industry include leakage or theft and lack of awareness amongst consumers. 

“We have witnessed a change in the way IP is perceived by the members of the industry and there is recognition of the benefits that accrue from protecting IP rights. This mindset change needs to be backed by on-ground action through a strong enforcement system and clarity in legal laws,” he added.

Varun Mowar, Country Leader, License Management Systems, Adobe said, “India is a very important economy in the global context. Sadly, India is also home to approximately 60% users of unlicensed software that leads to a massive loss of revenue and high value jobs. Unlicensed software use is an organisational governance issue and I am glad that leaders of some of the top firms are looking at the rising piracy levels as a warning and working towards protecting IP. 

The basic problem stems from the fact that people’s mindset is not tuned to believe that software piracy is unethical. People need to understand that piracy is equivalent to common theft and is punishable by law.  In my view change in people mindset towards piracy, differential pricing and stronger regulatory systems would be instrumental bringing down piracy and help in incentivizing innovation and garnering respect for IP rights in the industry.”

Protecting intellectual property drives innovation in economies that leads to the creation of life-saving cures, to newer technologies and services as well as generating millions of high-skilled, high-value jobs and huge revenue. Without protections in place to safeguard innovation, these breakthrough products and technologies would not be a reality, said the report. 

India has signaled progression on the IP front although significant challenges continue to exist. Recently the draft National IPR policy was submitted by the Commerce Ministry, but nothing substantial has moved since then.  It is critical for the positive aspects of the policy to be followed by concrete actions, and the conversations taking place are operational towards bringing in a real policy change.