Counterfeiting and Piracy drains out businesses, causes huge tax revenue and employment losses to governments, deplete society of creative talent and jeopardizes consumer safety. There is evidence to link the proceeds from counterfeiting and piracy activities being diverted to fund organized crime.While the terms Piracy and Counterfeiting are generally used interchangeably the former refers mainly to copyright violations in films, music and software while counterfeiting is used in connotation of trademark violations.
The items being counterfeited and pirated include everything from shoe-polish, shampoos and sunglasses to drugs, food, computer hardware and software, movies, music automobile parts and even aircraft spares. The advent of the Internet as a marketing tool has made the job to peddle counterfeits even easier, substantially lowering the cost of such operations and making identification and pursuit of pirates more difficult. A significant factor in the proliferation of fake goods is the reduced and in some cases, significantly discounted prices, which attract buyers.
Online Piracy which makes it easier to peddle counterfeits is an ever-increasing challenge, which is being combated by various organisations. Each nation has made a commitment to take a tougher stance on piracy and counterfeiting to strengthen and enforce intellectual property rights.
India’s Intellectual Property rights are protected by a legal and administrative system which fulfills all the international obligations by making use of the international regime’s flexibility to address its developmental issues.
The Indian IP system aims to balance the rights of the Intellectual Property holders and dissemination of knowledge in public interest. The National IPR policy which came into effect in 2016 recognizes the need for a legislative, administrative and judicial framework for channelizing the creativity and innovative potential of India. It focuses on aspects ranging from generation, management to commercialization and enforcement of Intellectual Property rights. The policy aims to implement, monitor and review IP rights. Since its implementation, it has successfully improved India’s Global Innovation Index ranking, strengthened IP protection and promotion mechanisms, reduced pendency in applications and increased patent and trademark filing.
Organizations such as CIPAM under Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade have conducted various IP awareness campaigns, workshops in association with colleges/Universities, industries and international organizations such as WIPO. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) in collaboration with various cells with the help of experts from law firms have launched IP enforcement toolkits and training programs for the Police to equip them with the relevant skills to handle IP crime. NIPO-The Indian IPR Foundation has participated in the 13th advisory committee meeting on enforcement of IPRs held in WIPO headquarters Geneva, Switzerland. NIPO also conducted systematic training programs for customs officials in India. Programs have also been initiated with an aim to train judges on IP Enforcement and adjudication. State governments across the country are playing an active role in the promotion of IPR cells through conducting IPR awareness workshops in collaboration with different educational institutes.
Although a host of measures have been taken to strengthen and enforce intellectual property rights in India, it is imperative to scale up the efforts and initiatives taken at an individual and organisational level for the promotion and protection of the IPR regime in India. The Government of India as well as Industry is taking a host of measures to curb this menace. Some of the important initiatives taken at the national level include: