MHRD IPR Chair Series: Introduction

Posted by Amulya Purushothama at Aug 10, 2015 03:30 PM |
In this blog post, Amulya Purushothama announces our new MHRD IPR Chair Series and charts the sequence of events, starting from the establishment of the MHRD IPR Chairs, to discussions surrounding their purpose and functioning, to concerns surrounding the lack of information about the IPR Chairs, the first round of RTIs CIS had filed in regard to this and the responses received. This series will document and analyze further RTIs filed and responses received in this regard.

Special thanks to CIS Intern Aditya Garg for his research and support on this.

Genesis of MHRD IPR Chairs

The Intellectual Property Education, Research and Public Outreach (IPERPO) scheme (Scheme) was set up by the Ministry for Human Resources and Development (MHRD) to encourage study of IP rights and research and create awareness about IP matters. The Scheme was also supposed to develop specialized courses, train enforcement personnel, organize seminars and workshops on IPR matters, develop inputs, awareness on WTO matters and evolve strategies of regional co-operation.

It was under this scheme that the MHRD-IPR Chairs were set up. These IPR Chairs were set up in 20 Universities and Institutes across India including 6 in Universities, 6 in IITs, 5 in National Law Universities and 3 in IIMs.

Performance of MHRD IPR Chairs

CIS had reported that the Planning Commission and the MHRD in 2014 organized a stakeholders consultation where they discussed India’s National Program on Intellectual Property Management. Apart from discussing the need to revisit the purpose behind the MHRD IPR Chairs program, One of the documents discussed in the context of evaluating how the IPR Chairs function was the Report of the Evaluation Committee on Continuation of the Scheme of IPERO in the XII Five Year Plan Period 2012-2017 (Evaluation Committee Report).

The Evaluation Committee Report among other things noted that many IPR Chair positions are left vacant, that there is no explicit mandate for the activities to be undertaken by the MHRD IPR Chairs, that most of the Chairs only organize a few workshops and deliver lectures and as a consequence the research outputs produced by the Chairs have been very weak. This leads to underutilization of funds available under the scheme.

The Evaluation Committee Report stated that the IPR Chairs were not performing well due to a number of reasons such as: inability to find a suitable Professor level person to occupy the IPR Chair, absence of qualification-criteria for the IPR chair in the Scheme, lack of focus on research, development of human resource and teaching, non-appointment of adequate staff by IPR Chairs, flow of funds to the IPR Chair being interrupted due to lack of proper documentation, uncertainty about the continuation of IPR Chairs etc.

Informational vacuum around MHRD IPR Chairs

The MHRD launched the MHRD IPR Chair Gateway recently. It was developed by the IPR Chair of NALSAR to serve as a forum where the information about the team of the MHRD IPR Chair, research work done by them, events hosted by them and degrees offered by them are available in one common platform. This gateway is a definite improvement when compared to the website of the Copyright Office which was the central host for the MHRD IPR Chairs earlier.

However, the website is difficult to navigate through and even though the design of the gateway is comprehensive, the information is uploaded by the individual IPR Chairs themselves. The information about some MHRD IPR Chairs is up to date, while some others. None of the Chairs seem to have uploaded the mandated Annual Report of their work.

As CIS has reported earlier there exists an informational vacuum around the activities of the MHRD IPR Chairs, the funds allocated to them and accounts of utilization of these funds. Most of the information that is available can only be found in pieces and fragments. The last near comprehensive account of allocation and expenditure of funds with regard to all the IPR Chairs is the Evaluation Committee Report that dates back to 2013.

The following table shows a matrix of individual MHRD IPR Chairs, their status, and information available about them.

S.No.

Name of Institute

Instituted

Present Status

Last Active

Website

Information Available

1

University of Delhi

Active (since February 2014)

Chair is supposed to be working in Cluster Innovation Centre, DU.

Information present on the MHRD website; no separate dedicated website.

2

University of Madras

Active (Co-coordinator assigned)

None.

None, even on University of Madras website.

3

Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT), Cochin

2003

Not Active

March 2012

http://ciprs.cusat.ac.in/hrdchair.php

Link on CUSAT’s Schools of Legal Studies’ website which is supposed to redirect – broken

Provides information of work done under the Chair till 2012.

4

Tezpur University

2010

Active

http://www.tezu.ernet.in/mhrdipr/index.html

Lists their objects and past activities up to 2012; interestingly the name of the IPR Chair cannot be found on this website, although the name of the Staff is present.

5

National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore

Active

https://www.nls.ac.in/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=65%3Athe-centre-for-intellectual-property-research-and-advocacy-cipra&catid=6%3Aacademic-programmes&Itemid=32

Provides information about their project (developed iprlawindia.org). No dedicated website.

6

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur

Not Active (site says selection process is ongoing)

June 2010

None.

None.

7

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur

Not Active

October 2013

None.

None.

8

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay

Active

Functions under Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management, IIT-B (http://www.som.iitb.ac.in/) but no separate website.

Nothing on the SJMSOM website.

9

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras

Active

Works under Department of Management Studies, IIT-Madras (http://www.doms.iitm.ac.in/) but no separate website.

Annual Report for 2014-15: https://www.dropbox.com/s/4tmyrkdmwvfa3ud/Annual%20Report%20IPR%20Chair%20IITM%202014-2015.pdf?dl=0

10

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi

Currently on Leave

Works under Department of Management Studies, IIT-Delhi (http://dms.iitd.ac.in/ ) but no separate website.

Nothing on the DOMS website.

11

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee

Active

http://www.iitr.ac.in/ipr/ - Website of their IPR Cell; doesn’t list the work of the MHRD IPR Chair separately.

Basic activities undertaken by their Cell; nothing in particular about research work done by the Chair.

12

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi

Active

Works under Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, School of Social Sciences, JNU. No separate website.

No information about the work undertaken.

13

Delhi School of Economics, DU, Delhi

Not Active

None.

None.

14

Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmadabad

Not Active.

None.

None.

15

Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Calcutta

Not Active.

None.

None.

16

Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore

Active

2004

No information on the IIM Bangalore website.

None.

17

NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad

Active

Works under N. C. Banerjee Centre for Intellectual Property Rights Studies.

List of activities undertake have been mentioned in the Centre’s working. No separate dedicated website.

18

National Law University (NLU), Jodhpur

Active

http://www.nlujodhpur.ac.in/mhrd_ipr_chair.php

Lists down the work undertaken, events hosted, research, etc.

19

National Law University (NLU), Bhopal

Active

None.

None.

20

West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (WBNUJS), Kolkata

Not Active

December 2013

None.

None

As can be seen, out of the twenty MHRD IPR Chairs, only 13 remain active while the rest have become inactive. The MHRD Chair at IIT Kanpur was last active over five years ago in June 2010. Out of the twenty, 11 IPR Chairs either do not have a website or redirect to a broken link. Out of the 20, fifteen do not provide any information or only provide for outdated information. Only one of the twenty, the IIT Madras Chair, has provided the mandated Annual Report for 2014-2015.

RTIs and Responses

CIS has filed several RTIs before the IPR Chairs asking for information regarding allocation of funds and utilization of funds.

The first round of RTIs filed in November 2014, elicited adequate responses from seven out of twenty IPR Chairs. Among the rest, the IPR Chairs at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University, Delhi School of Economics, Tezpur University and CUSAT Kerala did not provide information. And IIT Kharagpur sought exemption from providing this information under Section 8(1) (d) of the RTI Act, 2005.

Of those who did respond favorably to the RTI and had received money (five in number), three institutions, NLU Jodhpur, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad and IIT Bombay had underutilized the funds allocated to them. NLSIU, Bangalore had spent more than the allocated funds and IIM, Bangalore had spent the entire amount allocated.

MHRD IPR Chair Series

We have since followed up with the IPR Chairs with further RTI applications and received responses for the same. Updates on the same will now be part of our MHRD IPR Chair Series. Watch this space.

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