It is our pleasure to announce that the Law Firm Perry4Law is once again celebrating World Intellectual Property Day (WIPD) this year.[1] We wish to celebrate the WIPD-07 in a “different and holistic manner”. Thus, we have decided to celebrate “WIPO WEEK” every year starting from 20th April. The concluding day of the week would be 26th April each year that is the World IP Day. This celebration and Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) Awareness Drive would be supported by IPR HELPDESK, ICT HELPDESK, ICT HELPDESK AND WTO and INTERNATIONAL TRADE SEGMENT of Perry4Law. These “unique initiatives” of Perry4Law are coordinating International and National IPRs efforts and expertise on the one hand and managing IP Development Issues related to the Development Agenda on the other. A Special Initiative against Counterfeiting and Piracy has been undertaken keeping in mind the challenges of Electronic Era and Digital Millennium. We have also celebrating simultaneously the 12th World Book and Copyright Day on April 23, which was launched by UNESCO in 1996 recognising the vital importance of books for modern society.

TOPIC OF THE DAY: SUMMARY OF WIPO WEEK AND CELEBRATION OF WORLD IP DAY-07

The WIPO WEEK-07 was elaborately celebrated by Perry4Law covering the following topics:

(a) 20th April-07: Discussion on Basics of IPRs.

(b) 21st April-07: Discussion on Counterfeiting and Piracy in India and Worldwide.

(c) 22nd April-07: Enforcement of IPRs with a special reference to the Digital Era and Digital Millennium Requirements.

(d) 23rd April-07: Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) with a special reference to WIPO Domain Name Dispute Resolution Mechanism and the menace of “Cybersquatting”.

(e) 24th April-07: Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and their role and participation in the innovation, development and enforcement of IPRs.

(f) 25th April-07: IPRs in Large Corporations and MNCs, Sensitisation and Awareness among Managers, Executives, CEOs, etc of these Companies regarding IPRs, etc.

(g) 26th April-07: Summary and Celebration of WIPD-07. 

The mode of “Public Awareness and Public Sensitisation” was:

(a) Daily Reporting: We provided a “Daily Reporting” of all our “Discussions” of the respective Days. In addition the hyper links of these discussions have been provided in this “Summary” so that they may benefit the Public as much as possible, and

(b) WIPO WEEK Reporting: We are also providing a “Summary” of all our discussions in the form of “WIPO Week Reporting” today, i.e. 26th April, 2007, and

(c) Question and Answers: Question and Answers Session for One Week from 26th would remain open through our e-mail addresses. Interested member of Public can avail this facility and occasion to remove their doubts. Kindly avoid “Commercial and Professional Queries” as these initiatives are meant for “Lay Persons” and “General Members of the Public”.

SUMMARY OF WIPO WEEK-07 BY PERRY4LAW

Day-1

The discussion started with a brief introduction of the concept of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs), their growth and the contemporary challenges of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). It was emphasised that Intellectual Property Rights in India (IPRs in India) were duly recognised and protected from the very beginning. India was a member of various International Treaties and Conventions and the same continued till the present era. It was also stressed by Mr. B.S.Dalal, Senior Partner of Perry4Law that the categories of IPRs in India were traditionally confined to Copyright, Designs, Trademarks, etc and certain new categories have emerged with the passage of time. Mr. Praveen Dalal stressed upon the contemporary challenges that IPRs are facing. He stressed that the contemporary challenges primarily fall under two categories, viz. ICT and International Harmonisation Mandates like TRIPS Agreement. There was a common consensus among all the participants that India is not only TRIPS Compliant but also good at adopting Legislative Measures for protecting contemporary IPRs like Geographical Indications, Plant Varieties, etc. There was, however, a growing concern pertaining to the “Unsatisfactory Position” regarding the Semiconductor Law in India. Mr. Praveen Dalal also supported the practice of adoption of “Public-Private Initiatives” regarding protection of IPRs while managing a “balance” between “Public Interest” and “Commercial Interests”. He also stressed upon the dire need of “Private-Private Partnership” (PtPP) that can be very fruitful in the contemporary era. The provisions like Compulsory Licensing and the efforts like Doha Declaration on Health were hailed as pro-active and in Public Interest.

Day-2

In continuation of our Intellectual Property Awareness Drive we celebrated the Second Day of the WIPO Week-07. We covered the topic titled “The Menace of Counterfeiting and Piracy” in the Indian and global context. Participants showed their concerns over the present trend of Counterfeiting and Piracy in India and World Wide. There was a common consensus that Counterfeiters and Pirates are posing a big challenge for the economic development of various Nations and endangering health and safety of its citizens.

Mr. Praveen Dalal was emphatic when he claimed that with the advent of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Counterfeiters and Pirates have acquired new skills and sophisticated methods that extend their reach to Trans-National Borders. Further, he stressed that this is a global phenomenon which requires global action. He also stressed upon the requirement of “Harmonised Standards” regarding IPRs all over the World.

While acknowledging the menace of Counterfeiting and Piracy as a global threat, Mr. B.S.Dalal suggested that “Public Interest” must also be kept in mind. He maintained that Counterfeiting and Piracy are also encouraged to some extent due to “unfriendly conditions” imposed by the IPRs holders. He stressed that “Commercial Interests” and “Public Interests” must be “Reconciled” so that the end user is not “forced’ to adopt the method of Counterfeiting and Piracy. He suggested that “Anti-Competition Practices” must be met with an “iron hand” by the Competition Commission. He also maintained that “Compulsory Licensing” must be permitted by various statutory authorities where the “Public Interest” is at stake. He also suggested that if the IPRs holders are fair to the “Public Interest Demands” they should be given full leverage so that they can enjoy their IPRs to the maximum possible extent.

Other participants suggested that we need a “Collective Expertise” to meet the contemporary challenges of IPRs. Fortunately, the IPR HELPDESK has been working to meet the mandates of “collective expertise” and an “ideal public-private partnership” base in India and it is covering the vexing issues of Counterfeiting and Piracy in India and Worldwide. At the same time, we are analysing various crucial issues keeping in mind the challenges of ICT. A “Special Section” has been incorporated in the IPR HELPDESK that will analyse the relationship of Intellectual Property Rights in India (IPRs in India) with the ICT and will provide a valuable insight about the challenges of ICT. IPRs in India cannot be kept aloof anymore from ICT and for their continued existence their protection in both real space as well as in an online environment is a must.

The participants also suggested that we must develop techno-legal measure that can protect IPRs in India in an online environment. A good combination of both technological and legal measures alone can provide a viable solution in the contemporary digital era. That requires “amendments” in various IPRs Laws of India so that they are compatible with the ICT requirements. Till now India has not taken any step in that direction and the same must be taken as soon as possible. It was “decided’ to approach Government of India in this regard by Perry4Law.

Mr. Praveen Dalal further suggested that the use of ICT is equally essential for e-commerce in India as well. E-commerce, however, has certain legal risks attached to its functioning. Hence certain precautions are inevitable as ignorance of law is no excuse.[2] Further, he cautioned that the liability of companies/CEOs may arise for:
(a) Privacy violations,
(b) IT Act, 2000, and
(c) Intellectual Property Rights violations.

He also suggested some precautionary measures for Companies and their Officials that must be taken to escape various civil and criminal liabilities arising out of violations of Intellectual Property Rights in the cyberspace.[3]

Day-3

The discussion started with recognising and accepting the fact that enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in India (IPRs in India) and Worldwide is posing as a big challenge especially due to the advent of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Mr. B.S.Dalal stressed that the contemporary IP Systems are stressing upon lesser rather than more new IP regulation. He maintained that the World of IPR needs “Qualitative” IPR Regime rather than “Quantitative” one. He maintained that we need to first “dedicatedly enforce” the existing Laws, Treaties and Conventions before adopting the newer ones. According to him the important issues over the next 10 years would be: enforcement, competition policy, transfer of technology, dispute settlement, counterfeiting and piracy, etc. In his considered opinion there is also a dire need of maintaining and developing regional IP systems.

Mr. Praveen Dalal spoke on the amalgamation of IPRs with ICT while stressing upon the accompanying enforcement challenges. He maintained that Cybersquatting increased in 2006 and it is going to further increase as per WIPO’s estimates. He informed that as per WIPO reports Cybersquatting has increased upto 25% in 2006 over the previous year. In 2006, 1,823 formal complaints were lodged over internet address disputes, the most since 2000, before the WIPO’s Arbitration and Mediation Centre. According to him the future challenges can confront in the form of Digital Libraries Projects, Fair Use in the Internet Era, Techno-Legal Tools to fight Counterfeiting, Piracy and IPRs violations, etc. He cited the example of Google that has recently added copyright protection tool to YouTube.

The participants also discussed the “Changing Roles” of the enforcement agencies whether they are Judicial, Quasi-Judicial, Administrative or Other Authorities. There was a common consensus among the participants that “suitable training” is required for the enforcement machinery so that they can adjust their functioning as per the mandates of contemporary digital era. At this point Mr. Praveen Dalal suggested that the “Long Arm Jurisdiction” of various Nation’s Laws also requires a different outlook towards IPRs Laws in India. He also reminded the requirements and application of Laws like Digital Millennium as has been adopted by America.

The participants also expressed their delight over the proposal to celebrate the 12th World Book and Copyright Day on April 23, which was launched by UNESCO in 1996 recognising the vital importance of books for modern society. This event assumes a “special significance” for Perry4Law as it is closely associated with UNESCO’s drive to spread qualitative awareness drive on Educational, Scientific and Cultural aspects at World Level. The same will be celebrated simultaneously along with the WIPO WEEK-07 while suggesting “possible and potential solutions” to solve problems associated with copyright problems vis-à-vis books and other written materials.

Mr. Praveen Dalal, while announcing the celebration of this esteemed event of UNESCO, maintained that the “Leadership Development Initiatives” of the Government of India are not satisfactory at all.[4] He maintained that to neutralise the same we need “Private Initiatives” like Perry4law’s initiatives or platforms like “Development Gateway”. He praised the initiatives of Development Gateway and UNESCO as “pro active” and “unique” and maintained that both Development Gateway and UNESCO provide them a ready made knowledge base that is very crucial for Perry4Law’s Leadership Development Issues. He opined that the best advantage of Development Gateway is its participative, interactive and contemporary content providing services, all at the same platform. This capacity of Development Gateway, according to him, makes it a unique platform that is undoubtedly one of the best and premier “Knowledge and Capacity Development Base” of the World. Continuing his praiseworthy tone he maintained that this position holds true about UNESCO Observatory Portal as well. According to him the UNESCO Observatory Portal provides “Valuable Resources” at a single place without compromising the quality of the contributed contents. The Participants expressed their hopes that the Government of India will take a leaf out of the books of these esteemed Organisations and Institutions and till then “Private Initiatives” can seek the valuable guidance of these esteemed Organisations/Institutions/Platforms.

Day-4

Session-1

The discussion on Day-4 envisaged a “Double Celebration” by Perry4Law. Our discussions and celebrations were divided into two segments and sessions. The first session concentrated upon and celebrated the 12th World Book and Copyright Day, which was launched by UNESCO in 1996 recognising the vital importance of books for modern society. The participants expressed their delight over this esteemed celebration. The participants while recognising and accepting the importance of books in the “Knowledge Development” and “Growth of various Societies” endorsed the fact that books and other written literature needs strong IPRs protection. This is more so in the present Information and Communication Technology (ICT) era where there are new and perplex challenges before the Copyright Enforcement Authorities.

According to Mr. Praveen Dalal the future challenges can confront in the form of Digital Libraries Projects, Fair Use in the Internet Era, Development of Techno-Legal Tools to fight Counterfeiting, Piracy and IPRs violations, etc. He cited the example of Google that has recently added Copyright protection tool to YouTube. A reference about “Digital Watermarking”, “Digital Encryption”, “Use of Anti-Counterfeiting Nanoparticles”, etc was given by him to tackle the menace of Copyright Violation in the digital era.

Similarly, Mr. B.S.Dalal mentioned about the need to adopt “Techno-Legal Measures” to prevent Copyright Violations in an online environment. He stressed that neither “Technological” nor “Legal” measures alone can be effective to protect Copyright issues in the digital era.

Session-2

The second session concentrated upon the “Legal and Non-Legal Measures” that can be taken to resolve IPRs disputes. Mr. B.S.Dalal elaborated the “Traditional” and “Non-Traditional” dispute resolution mechanisms that exist in India. He explained that the traditional method of dispute resolution (Court Litigation) has its own limitation vis-à-vis IPRs. He also discussed the need to adopt the contemporary modes of dispute resolution like the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) for resolving IPRs disputes. He also touched the aspects of “Consumer Rights in India” and the “Anti-Competition Practices” concerning IPRs in India.

Mr. Praveen Dalal opined that Cybersquatting has increased upto 25% in 2006 and it is going to further increase. He reported that in 2006, 1,823 formal complaints were lodged in this regard before the WIPO’s Arbitration and Mediation Centre. He further explained the relationship between Trade Marks Act, 1999 and Domain Name Matters. He explained in details the efficacy of protection of domain names under both the WIPO Domain Name Dispute Resolution Mechanism as well as a resolution of the same under the Trade Marks Act, 1999. He also explained the method to “reconcile” the differing judgements under the WIPO Mechanism and the Trade Marks Act, 1999. He claimed that these issues have not yet been discussed in the Indian context and the same may cause some trouble in the future unless a method is devised to reconcile two conflicting judgments.

Other Participants stressed upon the need for instutionalised arbitration in India. According to them ADR methods can provide a relief to the already burdened adversarial litigation system in India. They opined that the full potential, advantages and benefits of ADR have not yet been realised in India. They suggested that there is a need for institutionalisation of ADR in India as a highly efficient, well-regulated, competent and economical Arbitration system would attract the international commercial community who presently favour countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and England.

The Participants emphasised that in this digital era reliance upon effective dispute resolution mechanism to solve the conflicting IPR issues and the use of ODR can go a long way in providing time and cost saving dispute resolution. It was observed that in the last few years’ cases of Cybersquatting and infringement of online copyright material have increased many folds. It was further observed during the discussion that national online dispute resolution tools on the lines of WIPO’s Arbitration and Mediation Center and Domain Name Dispute Resolution Mechanism should also be placed at the National level without any further delay.

Day-5

The participants started the discussions by recognising the fact that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a major role in the innovation, development and enforcement of IPRs.

Mr. Praveen Dalal maintained that sustainable economic and social development can be readily achieved if we pay more attention to SMEs and Individuals. He asserted that SMEs have recently showed tremendous growth patterns and they are bound to grow further in the future. According to him India needs wider ranges of voices to achieve a broader consensus over various Policy Matters. He cited the example of Small Service Exporters in Uganda who have found “practical ways” to get involved at National and International Level by having coalitions with similar firms. He maintained that effectiveness of local policies depends upon the number and variety of the membership they consider. He lamented that the Government does not consider interests of SMEs at International Level and India is suffering due to the “Silent Majority”.

Mr. B.S.Dalal suggested that these days even SMEs and Individuals, as subject of Public International Law, have shown their willingness and participative attitude towards International negotiations. Agreeing with Mr. Praveen Dalal he informed that SMEs have formed local groups and are collaborating with a bigger platform at the National and International Level. He maintained that the significance of SMEs cannot be undermined as they play an important role in the development process of the Nation. He asserted that the need of the hour is to organise them properly that is currently missing in India.

Day-6

The discussion started with enunciation of rights, duties and responsibilities of Companies and their Executives by the participants. Some suggestions were also provided for Companies and their Executives while concluding the discussions.

Mr. B.S.Dalal stressed upon the need to comply with “Due Diligence” by not only Corporations, Companies, MNCs, etc but also by their Executives/CEOs. He reminded the participants of the “Penal Actions” and other Legal actions that may be initiated in case the Companies and their Executive fail to adhere to the requirement of various Laws like Cyber Law in India, IPRs, Corporate Compliances, etc. He also stressed upon the importance of “IPR Management Policy and Strategies” that Companies must formulate and follow. He maintained that in the contemporary era Companies cannot afford to be lax on these aspects except at the cost of elimination from the competition.

Mr. Praveen Dalal cited the recent Judgment of Supreme Court that has broadened the Criminal Liability of Companies and their Executives. He explained that the “Alternative Punishment Theory” of the Court has widened the scope of criminal liability of Companies and their Executives. He stressed upon the needs of Techno-Legal Compliance, Corporate Compliances, IPRs Management Strategies, Due Diligence Compliances, etc. He also stresses that due to “Long-Arm Jurisdiction” Companies and their Executives are also prone to Trans-National Litigations. Differentiating between “Due Diligence Compliance” and “Self-Regulation” he opined that the former is not only preferable but also is in line with the Constitutional Philosophy and Mandates.

Day-7

Today we recapitulated the discussions and brain-storming exercise that enriched our efforts for the full week. While expressing the joy for playing a major role in celebrating World IP Day-07 in a “Unique and Holistic Manner” the Participants declared their “Commitment” to further participate and strengthen the National and International initiative regarding IPRs. We also took note of the fact that there is an “Emergent Need” to reconcile “Public Interest” and “Commercial Interests”. We think it is imperative to find a “Mid-Way” between the “Economic View” and the “Free For All View” vis-à-vis IPRs in India and World Wide. Thus, we have decided to “Formulate” a “Strategy” that is taking care of both the extremes. The same will be provided to National as well International Community the moment it is ready. The Participants also maintained that initiatives like IPR HELPDESK, ICT HELPDESK, ICT HELPDESK AND WTO and INTERNATIONAL TRADE SEGMENT of Perry4Law would go a long way in meeting these objectives.

With this “Commitment” the celebration of WIPO WEEK-07 and World IP Day-07 concluded with an everlasting impression in the minds of the Participants.

SOURCE: IPR HELPDESK OF PERRY4LAW

© Praveen Dalal. All rights reserved with the author.
* Arbitrator, Consultant and Advocate, Supreme Court of India.
Managing Partner-
Perry4Law (First Techno-Legal and ICT Firm, New Delhi, India)
LL.M. Ph.D –Cyber Forensics (Pursuing).
Contact at:
perry4law@yahoo.com, pd37@rediffmail.com

[1] http://www.bloggernews.net/16088
[2] Praveen Dalal, “Legal risks of electronic commerce”, http://perry4law.blogspot.com/2006/01/legal-risks-of-electronic-commerce.html
[3] Praveen Dalal, “IP issues in cyberspace”, http://advocatepraveendalal.blogspot.com/2006/04/ip-issues-in-cyberspace-it-is-my.html

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