Taking Your Business Abroad: Protecting Your IP in India Webinar

Kealan Finnegan |

On 25 March, the UK India Business Council (UKIBC) partnered with The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) in a webinar on ‘Taking Your Business Abroad: Protecting Your IP in India.’

Leading the discussion was Pragya Chaturvedi, IPO’s India IP attaché. Pragya lent her expertise on IP protection, why it is important, how to protect it, and recent developments, including those associated with COVID-19.

Since the National IP Policy was launched in 2016, India has made significant strides in improving the domestic regime for protecting and enforcing IP rights. Pragya explained that India’s first IPR policy contained clear objectives. In contrast, she added that not all developments have been as fluid, such as India’s withdrawal from RCEP negotiations, meaning that stronger IP protection in the form of data exclusivity/patent term extension is currently unavailable.

Pragya shared expert insight into what companies and individuals can do relating to IP protection: starting with registering their IP; use NDAs for protecting confidential information; make use of IP search tools and facilities; FTO searches; take advice of legal professionals; consider changing their IP if there is a conflict; and designate a responsible person within the business to handle matters related to IP.

As businesses continue to adjust to daily life with COVID-19, IP protection is also adapting. Pragya informed listeners that hearings in IP offices and IPAB have been adjourned and rescheduled. This will likely impact registration timelines. In response, the Indian IP Office has recently issued a public notice making relaxations for hearings and submission of responses/documents.

Pragya’s top three tips for companies entering India are as follows: register your IP; engage in an FTO search to ensure your product does not infringe other rights (if it does, then look at alternatives); and make use of support from IPO and its resources.

Education and improvement of policies such as those associated with IP protection will allow continued progression for companies seeking to do business in India. Our Doing Business in India report found that IP issues have become less of an issue for UK companies working in India in recent years, though it does remain an issue for a small percentage, with issues such as the patent term extension mentioned being evidence of that.

Strong Intellectual Property protection is the cornerstone of innovation. As we outlined in our submission to the Indian Minister of Commerce at the end of 2019 for instance, strengthening India’s IP enforcement enhances India’s manufacturing sector’s confidence and comparative advantage, especially in the ease of developing and deploying digital technology.

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