India doing well in digital IPR: WIPO chief

Amrita Nair-Ghaswalla Mumbai | Updated on January 15, 2019 Published on January 14, 2019

Francis Gurry, Director-General, WIPO

Artificial Intelligence is the new digital frontier in intellectual property and access to data and information is an important factor in technology. India appears to be doing an amazingly great job, holding a leading position, according to Francis Gurry, Director-General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

Speaking about the new dimension added to intellectual property (IP), the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data, Gurry told BusinessLine, “India is very well-placed in this respect, because of the number of digital enablers such as biometric data across the whole population. This is going to be one of the major advantages of India in the future.”

Image search tool

Given India’s large data pool and its digital enabling policies, Gurry said, it will help maximise the impact of AI and its application.

WIPO has developed an AI-empowered image search tool for trademarks. Embedded in the WIPO Global Brand Database, the tool is a world first, delivering results in a second and is highly accurate.

The Director-General of the WIPO was in Mumbai to address the CII Partnership Summit 2019. Stating that of equal importance in the current economic context was the need to provide incentives for investment in the creation of new knowledge and to ensure fair competition, Gurry said these two approaches needed to be reconciled and balanced.

Data, he said, raises a number of fundamental IP-related questions, and lines need to be drawn between the need to keep channels of data open and flowing, on the one hand, and the need to close them to ensure the right incentives are in place for the creation of new knowledge.

Patent purposes

Stating that the purpose of patents is “not just to allow patent holders obtain economic returns from the grant of market exclusivity, which is important,” Gurry said there were other dimensions. “Patents promote technological innovation and they should also contribute to the dissemination of technology and to the mutual advantage of producers and users alike,” he added. As for the healthcare sector, Gurry called for a balance, in order to ensure access to vital treatments for the neediest people even while ensuring that incentive structures promote development of new medical products.

“There is no point in having innovation unless you can share the social benefits. Encouraging investment in research and development and in innovation is needed, as is sharing the social benefit of innovation, to improve the quality of life. You need a proper balance. So there is no black and white answer to this,” he said.

Stating that “policy measures are very robust at the moment in India and we have seen a response in the economy and society,” Gurry said “there are a lot of good things happening. We are seeing a constant improvement in the IPR systems in India.”

Published on January 14, 2019
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