Earlier this week, another draft version of India’s National IPR Policy was leaked. The draft, dated 18 April 2015, was submitted by India’s ‘IPR Think Tank’. Some comments have been made on the draft (see here, here, and here). The first draft of the IPR policy prepared by the IPR Think Tank can be found here.
It is interesting to note that the draft policy states that ‘India is fully conscious of its international obligations and has always abided by them. At the same time, it has protected the national interest and balanced the rights of IP owners with their obligations to society.’ In addition, the draft policy states that the ‘policy space and flexibilities available under the international instruments will continue to be used judiciously.’
It is also gratifying to see that a human rights approach was incorporated into the draft policy. In its discussion of public health, the draft policy states that the right to health ‘is an integral part of the right to life enshrined in the Constitution of India’ and that ‘India is committed to providing its citizens access to affordable medicines, quality healthcare and innovative products and services’. Hopefully, this portion of the policy will not be expunged from the final version of the IPR policy.
The claim is not being made here that this draft IPR policy is the best and it is probably true to say that a more robust IPR policy document will be more beneficial. In any case, an Indian government official has stated that the leaked draft IPR policy is merely an input into the IPR policy being drafted by the government. According to the official, ‘policy is not made by the think-tanks, it is made by the government’. So, let’s keep our fingers crossed for the final IPR policy from India.