India’s National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy, released in mid-May, is a bewildering document. There are two ways to read this policy. The first is as a gigantic exercise in dissimulation, with a terse declaration — India is not changing its IPR laws — tucked inside a mountain of hot air to keep the U.S. and the European Union warm and happy. The other way to read it is as a serious attempt to make policy of tremendous national significance. A serious reading, however, reveals critical problems.
The National IPR Policy is keenly concerned with generating “awareness” of intellectual property (IP) in the country. (So much so that the word “awareness” appears at least 20 times in the policy.) The policy calls for nothing less than a new gold rush towards IP — roping in everyone from university professors to people in “rural and remote areas”.