You are here: Home / Access to Knowledge / Blogs / The Game of IPR: Insights from the 6th Global Intellectual Property Convention in Hyderabad

The Game of IPR: Insights from the 6th Global Intellectual Property Convention in Hyderabad

Posted by Samantha Cassar at Jan 31, 2014 09:30 AM |
IP practitioners and IP creators were among the 1700 participants to gather at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre earlier this month. Here, CIS had the opportunity of listening in on perspectives around the “Optimization of economic value of innovation & IPR in the global market” while attending numerous talks and sessions that were held over the course of the convention’s three days.

Narendra Sabharwal

One of the event's speakers, Mr. Narendra Sabharwal, IPR-Chair of FICCI, speaks of the immense value of IPR, while serving as protection as well as collateral for investors. (Photo credit: GIPC 2014)

This year’s Global Intellectual Property Convention (GIPC) was held in Hyderabad January 16-18, 2014 by ITAG Business Solutions Ltd. in association with the Institute of International Trade (iitrade). As the 6th of its kind, the event was held in hopeful contribution “towards society with the active support and cooperation of the IP fraternity,” says ITAG Founder and Director, Dr. D. R. Agarwal, while offering a “good opportunity for learning and business networking through one to one interaction in a pre-arranged manner under a conducive environment.”

The theme at bay had been “Optimizing the economic value of innovation & IPR in global market.” In respect of this central focus, common themes across panel discussions and workshops included IP management, monetisation, application drafting, and litigation, with particular emphasis on India’s ‘Pharma’ industry. Over 100 speakers and panelists shared their personal knowledge from experience in the industry, and largely consisted of representatives from law firms, IP consultancies, pharmaceutical companies, and business organisations; all of which from India, Europe and the USA. As an attendee representing the Centre for Internet & Society (CIS), a research institute that works to address issues related to intellectual property (IP) reform, I had the privilege of listening to such perspectives on intellectual property from an alternative outlook.

On the other hand, if exploiting too much by “abusing one’s monopoly, you are [setting] certain conditions, which are neither germane nor connected to the patent, and more than what is statutory permissible.” Kumaran stresses the necessity for the intellectual property right (IPR) holder to comply to the rights given by statutory law.

The name of the game is the quality of drafting. It is the first and last chance."             Vaidya D.P.,
Lakshmi Kumaran & Sridharan

Mr. Narendra Sabharwal, Panellist and IPR-Chair for the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (FICCI), sought to demonstrate the immense value of innovation and IPR in technology, arts and culture globally, in explaining that a large portion of the EU’s GDP (39%), and employment (26%) are derived from IP-intensive industries (See study by European Patent Office here). Also argued was that enterprises and institutions can increase value through licensing of products and services, while also serving as protection, and which can then become “excellent collateral for investors,” he says. Among other points made, Sabharwal mentioned the need for more incubators in India. Currently, India acquires 200 new incubators each year compared to China’s 8000 new incubators annually. Opening more incubators will encourage innovation, he argues, leading to more marketable products and solutions.

Mr. William H. Manning, Partner of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P (USA), took on the role of the story teller while sharing particularly interesting cases of previous clients. Manning had explained the necessity to ask one question over and over throughout the entire IPR application process; that question being: “What difference does the invention make?”

In doing so, Manning was even able to take what would have been an ‘incremental’ patent—which is just distinct enough from prior art to get by—and turn it into a ‘foundational’ patent—generally adopted by the industry for 10-20 years before moving to a different technology. The better of these two types, however, is the ‘pioneering’ patent, an inventive leap in itself. This client success story definitely affirmed Speaker and Director of Lakshmi Kumaran & Sridharan, Vaidya D. P., when he said that “the name of the game is the quality of drafting. It is the first and last chance.” Manning had also claimed that 99.9% of patent in India are said to be incremental patents, with none being pioneering—at least not from the patent applications he’s seen in his 34 years of experience, anyway.

Also a rule of this game is the “Take now—pay later” rule, according to Manning, in which enterprises may “ignore the problem for now and move ahead with the product. If somebody sues you for patent litigation…. Take now—pay later.” Here, he makes reference to the judgements enterprises may make when misusing or infringing upon an IPR, while assessing the worth of doing so with the risks that may lie ahead. Often, an enterprise may find that it is more worthwhile to misuse or infringe and reap the benefits in the “now” while knowing there may be a chance they will have to “pay later.”

Throughout the convention, what I expected to be the elephant in the auditorium was surprisingly addressed quite often. Best said by Panellist, Mr. Mohan Dewan, “IPR only becomes an asset when it is misused or infringed upon.” Principal to R K Dewan & Co., Dewan compares IP rights with car insurance, which can only be cashed in when the car is stolen.