INTA’s India Consultant, Gauri Kumar, is leading the Association’s efforts to build partnerships and brand awareness in India, as she tells Aaron McDonald.
In March, INTA’s eighth Annual Delegation to India took place, visiting New Delhi and Mumbai. It included a workshop on the present and future for brands in India, a roundtable on the timely topics of jurisdiction and trademark enforcement, and meetings with the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) and the Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trade Marks.
Arranging the Annual Delegation is one of the responsibilities of INTA’s India Consultant, Gauri Kumar, who joined INTA in June 2015. “This visit is crucial, as it provides action points for the Association to pursue in India for the rest of the year and builds on existing priorities and partnerships,” she says.
One partnership that has been flourishing is with the Cell for IPR Promotion and Management, a professional body under DIPP, which has given INTA the unique opportunity to collaborate with the government on its IPR Awareness campaign for school children in India. So far, more than 100 schools have been involved in the government-run initiative, and approximately 8,000 students have been educated.
“Through collaborations, we’re able to approach IP from many different angles and address many different audiences, which results in having a greater impact.”
In addition, INTA has been supporting the government’s IP awareness campaigns for the police by providing member volunteers to speak at various training sessions, says Ms. Kumar.
Another example is the Unreal Campaign, INTA’s public awareness initiative aimed at teenagers. She notes that members have brought the Unreal Campaign student presentation about counterfeiting and the importance of IP to Indian schools, and INTA’s Unreal Committee—Asia and Africa Subcommittee is looking at expanding the reach of this campaign to more schools in the country.
“Through collaborations, we’re able to approach IP from many different angles and address many different audiences, which results in having a greater impact,” Ms. Kumar says.
She says that raising public awareness through these types of efforts is a priority, given that counterfeiting—both online and on the street—is “a prime and rising concern” in India.
“While India has a strong legal framework for combating counterfeiting, more efficient procedural measures must be permanently established to effectively stem the rising tide of counterfeiting,” she says.
“In this context, it is indeed encouraging to see that the Indian government and enforcement agencies have been giving high priority to finding a resolution to these issues.”
Ms. Kumar says that brand awareness is increasing among brand owners and consumers, as shown by the increase in local and international trademark filings by Indian companies. Trademark filings in the country shot up by approximately 40 percent in 2016 - 2017 compared to 2014 - 2015, reflecting the vibrancy of the Indian economy.
A key step in improving IP protection was the introduction of India’s National IPR Policy in 2016. Now two years later, Ms. Kumar says, the country is well on its way to achieving the Policy’s objectives.
“In recent years, we have seen a steady incline in progressive IP activity in India: the strengthening of institutional mechanisms; huge reductions in pendencies and backlogs at the Indian Intellectual Property Office; an increase in filing activity; creating IP rights awareness; and so on,” she says.
INTA believes that the Policy will further strengthen existing laws and enforcement procedures.
“It is safe to say that India is steadily creating an ecosystem where IP will become an effective driver of the country’s overall development,” Ms. Kumar concludes.
INTA, INTA 2018, Gauri Kumar, trademarks, IPR Awareness, Unreal Campaigns, counterfeiting, Indian Intellectual Property Office