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India's Patent Act must extend to Software: Craig Mundie

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Sep 14 (UNI) India's Patent Act, which still does not extend to Intellectual Property (IP) protection of software, is a major concern area for global software leader Microsoft, and needs urgent attention.

''This is something that we are concerned with and it is an area that urgently needs to be addressed,'' Microsoft Corporation Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie said at an interactive meeting on the 'Role of IPR in the Knowledge Economy' organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

Mr Mundie pointed out that although India has made a lot of progress in enforcing Intellectual Property Rights, it still has to bear in mind that for becoming an Information Communication Technology (ICT) superpower, it would have to recognise patenting as a standalone enterprise.

''This is a key component for moving India forward from a manufacturing-services-led economy to an innovation-led economy,'' he said, adding, ''No field of scientific and engineering endeavour can progress without the advancement of IT where software is the centerpiece.'' In the US, 30-40 per cent gains in productivity in the eighties were attributable to innovations. ICT, he said, was at the heart of productivity increases in labour and capital, lowering of transaction cost, innovation and further growth in ICT to fuel economic growth.

CSIR Director General R A Mashelkar, while giving a snapshot of the current state of play in the IP sphere, noted that while some of the advanced countries have benefited from strong IP laws, in a country like India, which has to look at the concerns of both the top end and the bottom end of the population, the issue of balance in the IP regime becomes important.

''Piracy in India was a serious issue and it is here that penalties have to be swift, sure and severe. A high-level committee has made recommendations in this regard and the issue is at an advanced stage of consideration of the government,'' Mr Mashelkar said.

FIICI past president Y K Modi while noting that as India moves ahead to gain IPR protection, a major concern of industry is the high incidence of piracy which is rampant in the film, music and software industry, pointed out, that this is compounded by the time-consuming litigation and the low rate of convictions.

He underlined the need for urgently integrating the IPR policy into development plans and strategies through a balanced system of recognition and rewards.

''There is need to create an enabling environment at the national level to facilitate innovation and creativity,'' he said.


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