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SEMINAR ON WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY DAY -26 April 2000 -IPR ISSUES.

Hon'ble Justice Raju Varadarajulu Raveendran
Judge, Supreme Court of India

Hon'ble Justice Raveendran raised the issue of How IPRs also have to play a role for the Greater cause of Society. He, on the one hand agreed that Counterfeiting of any kind should not be encouraged. IPRs have to be protected to the best possible extent. According to him, the poor and socially backward areas in India do not have adequate information about any particular product or service. The counterfeit market harps on such poor information. We should take steps to educate these areas/people regarding the difference between a counterfeit and original product. He further stressed upon the fact that the betterment of the society not only is in the hands of the judiciary but also the society in general. He emphasized on the greater need for providing Health care and medicines to the poor strata of society and the need for IPR lawyers to play a pro-active role in helping society in general.

Mr. Arun Jaitley
MP & Former Minister for Industries & Commerce.

Characterizing Intellectual Property Rights as a subject having unlimited legal and economic horizons, Mr. Jaitley went on to discuss the global expansion in causes of action in trademark cases wherein he talked about the expanding horizons of passing off action, unfair competition, dilution by way of blurring etc. He also pointed out that now since we have allowed product patents in the field of pharmaceuticals as per the TRIPS mandate, one of the challenging task ahead that cannot be lost sight of will be to balance and reconcile two types of public interest viz. encouraging research and development on one hand and public health on other. He further pointed out that as far as our intellectual property laws are concerned we are keeping pace with the international developments on this front. He also acknowledged that the judicial consciousness in India is highly on an increase in this area. He, however, pointed out that in the overall framework of our intellectual property regime maximum remedy in law enforcement that is progressing further and on which too much reliance is being placed is that of injunction. He asserted that in order to ensure that IPR breaches/violations do not take place for asking the penal law consequences indeed will play a significant role.

Hon'ble Mr. Justice A.K. Sikri
Judge, Delhi High Court.

Justice Sikri had kindly consented at the last minute to speak due to non-availability of Justice S.K. Kaul. Touching upon the concept of damages, Hon'ble Mr. Justice A.K. Sikri emphasized on the pro active role the Delhi High Court has played in recent years in granting decree for damages for loss of reputation as well as exemplary damages in intellectual property infringement actions. However, he also asserted the most of these decrees end up as being merely paper decrees and the question that in how many cases the damages so awarded are actually recovered needs serious examination. He pointed out that in most of these cases these decrees are granted ex-parte are more often than not the defendants are difficult to trace. To add to this, settlement is often reached upon between the parties. He further asserted that in order to combat piracy it is imperative to strengthen our criminal justice system and for the same the need of the hour is to sensitize the officials of our enforcement agencies engaged in combating this evil.

Dr. Suman Sahai
Convener of Gene Campaign

Dr. Sahai pointed out that one area that has not got adequate protection under law and towards which very little attention has been paid by the legal community is that of "Indigenous Knowledge". She asserted that "Indigenous Knowledge" is as deserving of the legal protection as are the various types of Intellectual Property like patents, trademarks, copyright etc. She pointed out that this is more specifically so in a country like India since the civilizational community of ours embodies enormous amount of highly sophisticated "Indigenous Knowledge". She emphasized that there is an urgent need for protecting this valuable body of knowledge, which has enormous economic stake today. She said that although the Convention for Bio Diversity (CBD) provides for the protection for indigenous knowledge, the WTO-TRIPS does not recognize the same and the main task ahead of Indian Government is to reconcile the two. She further stated that as of now none of our legislations have enabling provisions that could adequately protect indigenous knowledge and accordingly there is an urgent need for a sui generis legislation for the protection of our indigenous knowledge tailored exclusively for their protection. She also asserted that this cannot be based on the systems of IPR that exist today and infact requires a new approach based on collective ownership.

Mr. Rajat Sharma
Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of India TV

Mr. Sharma broached upon the copyright issues faced by Broadcasters in general. He also emphasized on the apathy of artists & singers though India has a strong Copyright regime. This regime does not in fact benefit the singer in any manner whatsoever. He said that music companies only look at maximizing revenues but do not protect the interest of singers. He raised the issue wherein the original playback singer gets a notice from the film producer if he or she sings a popular song of the film on any platform which was originally sung by them. He emphasized upon the issue of copyright the broadcaster faces from the film producers under the veil of copyright infringement.

Ms. Rina Dhaka
Fashion Designer.

Ms. Dhaka pointed out the need for some System for protecting fashion designers. She pointed out the drawbacks in the existing system wherein if registrations are applied for, the procedure takes too long and the design itself becomes outdated. She highlighted that Designers should be able to register their designs with some specifically constituted Body so that if any issue of Priority arises, the same can be established through the registration with that Body. The Body could also act as an Ombudsman in case of disputes between Designers.

Mr. S.D. Mishra
ACP, Intellectual Property & Cuber Crime Cell, Delhi Police.

Mr. Mishra elaborated upon the protective role played by Police in curbing IPR violations and related crimes. He pointed out that high end counterfeiting in the software/hardware CD's/ DVD's, FMCG and Industrial products (which are primarily import driven and have been identified as key problem areas by the Delhi Police on the basis of the past experiences) often makes it difficult to distinguish between the original and counterfeited products. He also mentioned that increasing complexities in supply chains involved in these crimes is another area of concern. He also elaborated upon the use of legitimate trade distribution channels in counterfeited FMCG products. He also stated that in view of enormous growth in IP related crimes in recent past, the orientation of the Police has shifted from mere product seizures to identification and breaking the network regulating the same. He also stated that another area of concern is that being high demand low cost crimes, most of the culprits time and again resort to these crimes and the main endeavour of the police nowadays is to inflict maximum possible financial damage on the culprits so as to deter them from indulging in these. He further pointed out that in order to ensure that such crimes are dealt with stringently regular training workshops were being conducted for them with the aim of sensitizing them with these crimes and providing specialized training to them to effectively tackle such crimes.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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