Intellectual Property as an instrument for Inclusiveness and Empowerment: Promise and Possibility
Intellectual Property as we all know is an area of law which comprises the domains like copyright, trademarks, patents, GI, designs, semiconductors, farmers and plant varieties. It has been recognized as an important key towards the protection of original works of the creator and innovator and giving them control over the use of their work. It guarantees them incentives when they commercialize their work. With such an idea of protection of the creator's work, Intellectual Property encourages the ideas of new innovations. There has been a constant growing demand towards the possibility of inclusiveness and empowerment with intellectual property as a key to it. The intersection of cultural heritage, educational resources and economic empowerment with IPR can cover this demand.
The concept of inclusiveness
If we go with the general definition of inclusiveness, it means to include all irrespective of the religion, race, or caste the person belongs to.1 Similarly, if we go with the concept of inclusiveness in the IPR domain, it means the inclusiveness of marginalized communities in the creation of new ideas and innovations. With the availability of an incentive mechanism, the economic advancement of such communities will take place along with the flow of new ideas and innovations which will cater to the needs and demands of society as a whole. By including all the masses, a diverse range of ideas and innovations will be brought to the forefront which will ensure the popularity of the creator and product as well as the origin country will be recognized by other nations in the domain in which the product is made.
Open Sourcing and Collaborative Platforms
Open source software allows free access to the owner’s work. This software can be taken as an example by the creators towards the formation of new inventions.2 Nowadays, various platforms have been launched where individuals can collaborate with other inventors towards the formation of a product which leads to a diverse mindset in forming an innovation. Rightly said by a person – “More heads of similar interests involved in finding a solution the efficient is the result.”
Tool of protection for indigenous art
Preserving our art and culture is important for the present and as well as the coming generations to know about the history of the country and the challenges faced by the people.3 Some intelligent minds have the opinion that preserving ancient artifacts is not an important measure as it is a mere structure of the past, for them a simple answer would be by taking into consideration an example- We all know that India attained independence from the Britishers in the year 1947. Independence was not served on a plate. It was attained with a lot of struggle and penance. So, learning the history of the heritage and protecting is important. Heritage is not a mere structure but a live example of the past and its protection is important. The domain of IPR is very large and it acts as an umbrella safeguarding the heritage and maintaining its identity.
OER and Creative Commons: Easily accessible tool for students
Copyright laws have been designed to protect the rights of creators and promote creativity but this can limit the availability of educational resources due to the restrictions such as limitations on reproduction and distribution. In order to view the work of the author, students, researchers, and academicians have to pay a certain amount. It becomes difficult for people who have a meagre source of income to pay such an amount in order to view the author’s work. Some articles require the approval of the owner before viewing.Alternatives such as open educational resources (OER) and creative commons come to the rescue. These alternatives let you view and download the work of authors without any prior approval or paying any amount.4
Patent and medicines
Patent plays an active role in the development of new medicines through medical research and development. Through the incentive mechanism, pharmaceutical companies invest in medical research and the development of new medicines and vaccines to cure disease and illness. Example- In the year 2020 through extensive research vaccines for COVID-19 were developed along with the measures to stop the spread. However, the exclusive right granted within it can have a negative impact on low-income people. The price of newer medicines developed is quite high which cannot be afforded by not so affluent families if any of the members suffers from any illness or disease of which this medicine is developed. In such cases, measures such as patent pooling and voluntary licensing come to the rescue this reduces the cost of medicines and increasestheir availability. Patent pools can be defined as an agreement between two or more patent owners to license one or more of their patents to one another or third parties.5The invention of the Sewing Machine is the first ever example of a Patent Pool and lasted until its last patent expired in 1877.6
Critics argue that IPR will hinder the inclusiveness approach as it will create monopolies and restrict the spread of knowledge. Such hindrances can be easily tackled by the method of fair usage, compulsory licensing and exemption of permission from using the work for educational and research purposes. These safeguards ensure that IPR is not causing hindrance to access to information.
Intellectual Property is a promising area for inclusiveness and empowerment. By fostering an inclusive approach to innovation, preserving cultural heritage, open access educational resources, and empowering economically weaker people's intellectual property promotes the idea of creating an equitable and just society. To fully execute the idea a balanced approach must be followed. An inclusive intellectual property framework will bring transformation, innovation and creativity which in turn will shape a better future for everyone.
Author : Abhyuday, A Student at student at KIIT School of Law, Bhubaneswar, in case of any query, contact us at Global Patent Filing or write back us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.