The benefits and safeguards that have been provided under the Trade- Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) are not being utilised properly by our industries, according to P H Kurien, Principal Secretary, Department of Information Technology and former Controller-General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks, India.
“Brand promotion of your products in other countries and preventing others from replicating them can be ensured through TRIPS,” he said. He was speaking on the second day of the seminar on ‘WTO and its impact on Kerala Economy’ organised by the Centre for WTO Studies, New Delhi, and Institute of Management in Government (IMG) here.
‘’The benefits of TRIPS can only be achieved through utilising its provisions and this depends on the the innovative ability of producers/manufacturers,’’ he said.
“Jewellery designers in India can opt to protect their patents,” he said. “But they seldom do so stating that their designs will be in the market for only two years. We have much to learn from developed countries which jealously guard their products and make full use of patent laws,” he said.
He said that in India, internal squabbles between producers of a collective brand have resulted in failure to capitalise on promoting the particular brand. Citing an example, he said that though Nashik Valley Wine had obtained Geographical Indications (GI) status in 2010, the producers of ‘Dindori’ wine, particular to a tehsil of Nashik, had also laid claims for a separate patent.
“Kerala also has a number of products with GI status such as Balaramapuram sari,” said Kurien. “But there have been instances where instead of promoting it as a separate brand, producers often sell it as ‘Kerala’ sari.”
R S Praveen Raj, scientist at the National Institute of Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (NIIST), Trivandrum, voiced similar views and added that there was a absence of quality research in Kerala which had resulted in failure to acquire more patents for the state.
Speaking on the topic ‘Ayurveda and IPR’ he cited several examples where innovations based on Ayurvedic knowledge had earned patents for researchers.