India: The Draft Model Guidelines on Implementation of IPRs for Academic Institutions – An Overview

September 19, 2019

A 23 pager draft for Model Guidelines on Implementation of Intellectual Property Rights Policy for Academic Institutions (hereinafter referred to as the ‘draft’) has been released by Cell for IPR Promotion & Management (hereinafter referred to as ‘CIPAM’) on September 9, 2019.
The draft is based on the “Guidelines on Developing Intellectual Property Policy for Universities and R&D Organizations, WIPO, Geneva” and the intellectual property policies of several universities, published on the WIPO website.

Key takeaways from the Guidelines:

Model Guidelines on Implementation of IPR Policy for Academic Institutions aims to ‘nurture the spirit of innovation and translate these into products, processes, and services for commercial exploitation in wider public good.’ The objective of the Model Guidelines is ‘to contribute in transforming industry and society, by delivering research-led education, promoting innovation, collaboration and fostering human values.’
The draft acknowledges the fact that today’s youth is key to strengthening creativity and promoting innovation. The ultimate goal of the guidelines is to promote student led business ventures and start-ups. Furthermore, it will also protect the IP rights of the faculty, personnel, students and staff of the academic institution, by transforming their innovative work into IP rights.
According to the draft, the academic institution will have the patent right, if a student, researcher or faculty member, has used its resources and funds for developing a product. However, if an invention was made by an individual on his own and the institution determines that it has been on his or her own time and not a part of his or her responsibilities towards the institution and that it was conceived without availing the institution’s resources, then the invention will belong to such an individual or inventor. The draft says “the ownership rights on IP may vary according to the context in which the concerned IP was generated. In this regard, a two-tier classification is suggested for adoption”.
In case of Copyright, the draft provides that any scholarly and academic work done by utilizing resources of an academic institution will only be attributed to the author who will have the ownership rights. On the contrary, the ownership rights in lecture videos, musical, film and plays will ordinarily vest with the academic institution.
As per the draft, ownership rights over integrated circuits, industrial design and plant varieties, will remain with the academic institution if the individual has used its funds and resources for developing the product. The institution is also allowed to enter into revenue sharing agreements with research, as per the advice of the IP Cell.
The draft also provides for provision under which the academic institute may appoint a committee of experts for the purpose of dispute resolution. The draft also provides for creation of an IP cell in academic institutes and it states “IP Cell shall provide an environment for academic and R&D (research and development) excellence and conduct dedicated programmes on IPR for the undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as organize regular IPR counselling programmes for research scholars.”
The draft further elaborates, “These guidelines shall apply to all IP created at the academic institution, as well as, all IP rights associated with them, from the date of implementation of these norms.”

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