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Intellectual Property: The dominant force in economic development

Written by: Ravee Tanta - 8th Semester student of law
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Intellectual property (IP) is the term that describes the ideas, inventions, technologies, artworks, music and literature, that are intangible when first created, but become valuable in tangible form as products. Intellectual properties are the creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and the symbols, names, and designs used in commerce. The rationale for the establishment of a legal framework on IPRs is that it is a signal to society that creative and inventive ideas will be rewarded.

IP system is being integrated into the knowledge economy, and posing interesting challenges to industry, government policy-makers, scholars, and researchers in both developed and developing countries.

Character of IPR

Intellectual property rights as a collective term includes the following independent IP rights which can be collectively used for protecting different aspects of an inventive work for multiple protection: Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks Registered ( industrial) design, Protection of IC layout design, Geographical indications, and Protection of undisclosed information design, Protection of IC layout design, Geographical indications, and Protection of undisclosed information.
IPR are largely territorial rights except copyright, which is global in nature in the sense that it is immediately available in all the members of the Berne Convention. These rights are awarded by the State and are monopoly rights implying that no one can use these rights without the consent of the right holder. It is important to know that these rights have to be renewed from time to time for keeping them in force except in case of copyright and trademarks.

IP and Economic development

IP is considered a barrier to access to life-saving medicine and critical technologies. Introduction of patents could place pronounced upward pressure on patented drug prices. In most developing economies there are significant amounts of labor employed in copying unauthorized goods. As these nations upgrade their laws and enforcement activities, these workers must find alternative employment. This displacement problem should pose the initial challenge for policymakers in introducing stronger IPRS.

John Hillery has stated that intellectual property protection drags down developing economies by resulting in a loss of jobs, driving up prices on goods due to a monopoly created by IP , reducing access to technology needed for development ,requiring developing countries to administer and enforce IP rights and compelling companies to pay licenses or royalties on the products that they produce.

The other side remains contradictory. Human creativity is a vast national resource for any country. Like gold in the hills, it will remain buried without encouragement for extraction. Intellectual property protection is the tool which releases that resource. A strong intellectual property regime reassures potential investors that their capital and their technologies will not fall prey to piracy and counterfeiting. IP would encourage participation in the growing global technology networks by release powerful internal resources. It could stimulate acquisition and dissemination of new information. Patent claims are published, allowing rival firms to use the information in them to develop further inventions.

Rita Hayes has observed that developed and developing nations alike are modernizing their intellectual property systems, providing more support to research and development institutions, and creating more incentives for the private sector to encourage the development of intellectual property assets. Simon Anholt has noticed that intellectual capital plays vital role in the modern economy by adding value to the product.

Success in Developing countries

IP positive environment created a thriving industry and much-needed new jobs in India, and has helped attract significant foreign direct investment as well. The same is true in countries such as Brazil, China, Korea, and Singapore, which have adopted proactive intellectual property policies to stimulate local industries from biotechnology to telecommunications to electronics. Intellectual property rights have, despite their many development stages and difficulties, a great impact on businesses and their competitiveness, success, development, and also employment.

Indian patent Law

Implications of the new patent law for industrial development and public health are still unclear. The threat of depriving Indians of new research products seems hollow. If they do not register their patents in India, the domestic industry has the proven capability to “reverse-engineer” the same and provides them at much lower prices. If they register the patent and do not work it, India's patent law has adequate mechanism to deal with such situations and ensure that the product is available to the needy.

Ajit Dangi, Director General, Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India, Given India's abundance of scientific and technical manpower, Section 3(d) of the Patent Act will not only act as a barrier for innovation to our scientists, but will also have a negative impact on public health.

Concerns
In the post-Doha period, the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights (CIPR) set up by the Department for International Development (DFID), UK with John Barton as chair in its Report Integrating Intellectual Property Rights and Development Policy in 2002 observed that poverty reduction in developing countries will be hindered if intellectual property (IP) rights are expanded without taking into account the individual circumstances of poor nations. The Commission warned that by serving the interests of companies based primarily in the developed world, the IP system increases the cost of access to many products and technologies that developing countries need in areas such as health, agriculture, education and information technologies. The Commission urged the developed countries to pay more attention to reconciling their commercial self-interest with the need to reduce poverty in developing countries.

Conclusion
Knowledge and information, economically exploited as intellectual property are replacing the more traditional, material elements of production as the primary engine of economic growth. . It is influenced by the ingenuity, creativity, and innovative ability of a nation. Converting these resources into tangible economic assets requires an effective and efficient intellectual property system.

Endnotes
1.Kamil Idris, Intellectual Property : A Power Tool for Economic Growth , “The Process of Economic Growth”, sourced from www.wipo.int/about-wipo/en/dgo/wipo_pub_888/pdf/wipo_pub_888_chapter
2. As defined by WIPO.
3. Jayashree Watal, “Intellectaul Property in Indian Agriculture”, sourced from www.icrier.org/pdf/jayashreeW
4. Supra Kamil Idris.
5. R Saha, Management of Intellectual Property Rights in India, sourced from pfc.org.in/workshop/workshop.pdf
6. Ibid.
7. www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&se=gglsc&d=5001976550
8. Kari Sipila, “The Role of Intellectual Property Rights in the Promotion of Competitiveness and Development of Enterprises”, sourced from
http://www.1000ventures.com/business_guide/ipr/ipr4competitiveness_bycipila.htm
9. Reiko Aoki, Kensuke Kubo& Hiroko Yamane , Indian Patent Policy and Public Health: Implications from the Japanese Experience, Institute of Developing Economies, JETRO, March (2006).
10. D G Shah, Does Indian patent law stifle innovation, sourced from http://us.rediff.com/money/2007/aug/24deb.

The author can be reached at: ravee@legalserviceindia.com / Print This Article

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