Newspaper: The New Indian Express
Section: Business
Date: January 4, 2011
Page: 13

SMEs can benefit from use of IPRs: Expert
ENS Economic Bureau
Chennai, January 3

INTELLECTUAL property rights (IPRs) are exclusive legal rights granted to a number of distinct types of intangible assets, such as inventions over which a patent can be obtained and words and symbols over which a trademark protection can be sought.

The WTO Agreement on Trade-related aspects of IPRs (TRIPS) set mandatory minimum standards of protection for IPRs. Post 1995, a number of new IP laws were enacted like the Geographical Indications (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, Protection of Plant Varieties And Farmer’s Rights Act, 2001, Semiconductors Integrated Circuit Layout Designs Act, 2001 and The Designs Act, 2000.

India also joined the Patent Cooperation Treaty in 1998 and more recently the Madrid Protocol relating to trademarks.

Sharing the above information with TNIE on the sidelines of a seminar on Intellectual Property Rights in Chennai recently, Krishna Sarma, Managing Partner, Corporate Law Group, said, “We have to focus on how small and medium enterprises can benefit from the use of IPRs - be they innovative products, brands and creative designs - with a view to moving up the value chain.’’

“SMEs are already a force to reckon with in the economic ecosystem, all with the impressive growth in the last few years, especially in the fields of light engineering, textiles, biotech and IT,’’ she said and added, “There are about 13 million plus SME units and they employ over 42 million people, accounting for 45 per cent manufacturing output and 40 per cent of the country’s exports.’’

An expert in pharma industry patents, Krishna Sarma wanted a greater push given to research-based incremental innovation in material science and patient-centric protective methods under Regulatory Data Protection (RDP), thereby making a stand that the clinical data of one company might not be relied upon by a second applicant to obtain a marketing authorisation.

She called for the setting up of a mechanism to address the issue of enforcement of IPRs -be it the challenge of enforcing a patent or effectively implementing a court order to cease and desist in a TM infringement action or fighting the menace of flagrant counterfeit and piracy or enforcing border measures against grey goods.