The article “Does patenting research change the culture of science?” (The Hindu, Mar 12, 2009) by Mr. Feroz Ali Khader covers his reservations against the Indian IP bill titled “The Protection and Utilisation of Public funded Intellectual Property Bill,2008” which is yet to be introduced in the Rajya Sabha.Mr. Ali Khader who is an advocate and the author of the book “The Touchstone Effect: The Impact of Pre-grant opposition on Patents” has raised concerns by highlighting the impact of US Bayh-Dole Act (BDA) on the culture of science. He has covered both the positive and negative aspects but emphasized more on its negative outcomes. The BDA in US encouraged private participation in basic research, and permitted licensing of the research to private hands for exclusive commercialization. The Indian IP bill is in the lines of BDA which aimed:
- To create an environment in which wealth can be generated from the university system.
2. To ensure that benefits of public funded research reach the public
- Forge more closer academia-industry partnership
According to Mr.Ali, if the bill is enacted it would severely undermine the ‘experimental use’ exception which grants immunity to universities and research institutions which are involved in research from patent infringement actions. But what we feel is that the act will encourage the Indian Universities to be innovative and protect new IP.And there is enough evidence to show that innovation is the principal driving force for long term economic growth and the increased standard of living of modern industrial societies. The University R&D in India is in dire straits and the act would rejuvenate the research culture. The Youngsters would look research as a promising career. This would also promote increased patent filling from our country. And in the future the research environment thus created might help in bringing Noble prizes to our country.
Contributed by Anil Hooda & Naga Babji