Sunday, 14 November 2021

IP in India

Photograph of India taken from a US Satellite

 



















The Department for International Trade has recently carried out a consultation on the top priorities for businesses and members of the public for a future trade deal with India and where they think the biggest gains from such a deal may lie. Any trade deal with India is likely to contain provisions on intellectual property and the topic was suggested as an option in several of the consultation document's multiple-choice questions.

According to An information note for the consultation relating to a Free Trade Agreement between the United Kingdom and India, "intellectual property" is the UK's second-largest export to India amounting to £833 million.  The note does not explain how that figure is computed or of what it consists. It is, therefore, assumed to be royalties and other payments for licences, assignments and other intellectual property transactions.

For those thinking of investing in, or exporting to, India, the Intellectual Property Office has published a short booklet entitled  Intellectual property rights in India.  It lists the intellectual assets that are protected in India, the treaties and conventions to which India is party and the need to register patents, trade marks and designs with the Indian Intellectual Property Office.  Even though India has acceded to the Berne Convention, the booklet recommends the registration of copyright works with the Indian Copyright Office.  There is a section on IP enforcement that discusses civil litigation, criminal proceedings and other methods of dispute resolution.

A particularly helpful paragraph in the booklet suggests the following self-help considerations:
  • "Think about the design of your product, and how easy it would be for somebody to reproduce it without seeing your original designs; 
  • When you hire staff, have effective IP-related clauses in employment contracts. Also make sure you educate your employees on IP rights and protection; 
  • Have sound physical protection and destruction methods for documents, drawings, tooling, samples, machinery etc.; 
  • Make sure there are no ‘leakages’ of packaging that might be used by counterfeiters to pass off fake product; 
  • Check production over-runs to make sure that genuine product is not being sold under a different name." 
The booklet lists a number of typical problems faced by British businesses in India and suggests the following precautions:
  • "take advice from Indian IP rights experts at an early stage on how to protect your IP – prevention is better than cure; 
  • consult publications and websites on Indian IP rights and protection in general; 
  • carry out risk assessment and due diligence checks on any organisations and individuals you deal with; 
  • take professional advice from other experts – for example lawyers, local diplomatic posts, Chambers of Commerce and the UK India Business Council; 
  • talk to other businesses already doing similar business in India; 
  • consult agents, distributors and suppliers on how best to safeguard your rights; 
  • check with trade mark or patent attorneys to see whether there have been previous registrations of your own marks, or other IP, in India; 
  • stick to familiar business methods – don’t be tempted to do things differently because you’re trading in a different country."
The booklet offers some useful guidance on getting professional help in India.  

Since the publication of that booklet, the British government has appointed Ms Pragya Chaturvedi as our IP attach√© in India.  Her job includes advising British businesses on IP issues in India, working with various government entities to raise IP awareness and engaging and assisting consular officials in different regions of Indian.  Ms Chaturvedi can be contacted at the British High Commission at Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110021 on +91 (11) 2419 2100 or by email at Pragya.Chaturvedi@fco.gov.uk.

The European Commission operates an India IP SME Helpdesk which describes itself as a
"A first-line IP assistance service for European/COSME SMEs that operate or intend to access the Indian market and look to improve their global competitiveness."

It keeps a directory of 214 IP Institutions resources, publishes a regular newsletter on Indian IP law and holds frequent and regular in-person and online conferences and seminars and promotes many more that are held by other organizations.  The infographic 10 Tips to survive in India is particularly helpful: 

  1. "Identify your IP assets
  2. Plan in advance when it comes to IP!
  3. Adapt your IP strategy to the Indian market
  4. Carry out preliminary searches
  5. Protect your IP Rights
  6. Maintain your IP Right
  7. Monitor the market for infringements
  8. Be ready to enforce your IP Rights
  9. Work with Indian Customs
  10. Last but not least… Seek advice from IP Experts,"

The WIPO's India page links to the Copyright Office and the Indian Intellectual Property Office, the treaties to which India is party, India's primary and secondary IP legislation, statistics and a collection of other resources called IP in Action.

The Indian IP Office website holds comprehensive information on Indian patents, trade marks, design and geographical indications.  It publishes updated statutes and secondary legislation, a Manual of Patent Office Practice and Procedure a Manual of Design Practice and Procedure and a Draft manual of Trademarks Practice and Procedure and other guidance.

Anyone wishing to discuss this article or any of its contents can call me on +44 (0)20 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact form.

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IP in India

Photograph of India taken from a US Satellite Source Wikimedia Commons   Jane Lambert The Department for International Trade has recently ca...