Summary: The decade following India's accession to the World Trade Organization's Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property ushered in numerous changes to the country's patent system, culminating in a series of amendments in 2005. But a functioning patent system is more than a statute. This paper discusses the steps that India must still take to develop an effective, functioning patent system capable of attracting foreign direct investment, motivating domestic innovation and education, and filtering its benefits to all elements of Indian society, including the poor and the possessors of traditional knowledge. The analysis combines data studies of historical and recent patenting activity in India and by Indians, interviews with Indian government officials, intellectual property attorneys, industrialists, and researchers, and lessons gleaned from patent systems abroad. It identifies critical needs and concrete steps to meet them. Improving public awareness of the revenue-generating potential of patents will enhance incentives for the participation of individuals and small and medium enterprises in the patent system. Formalizing guidelines for patents derived through government research funds-coupled with needed changes in institutional governance-will enhance prospects for technology transfer from laboratories to commercial markets. Compensation schemes for traditional knowledge will extend the benefits of intellectual property rights to the poorest members of society. This paper's recommendations would help India achieve both a fully functioning patent system and a mechanism for ensuring that poor people living traditional lifestyles receive their share of the social gains that a working innovation system can confer.
Official, scanned versions of documents (may include signatures, etc.)