Intellectual property (IP) plays a key role in almost every sector and has become a crucial factor for investment decisions by companies. India has been a part of wide range of international treaties and conventions relating to intellectual property rights (IPR). Recently, the Indian government launched “Make in India” and “Digital India” initiatives. Achievement of such initiatives by the government will not be possible until there is clear policy framework regulating IP. Thus, in order to strengthen its policy framework, the Indian Government is coming up with a National IPR policy soon. The policy is expected to ensure that IP rights of all innovators and entrepreneur shall be safeguarded and that implementation and enforcement of IP rights do not adversely affect India’s developmental objectives. This triggered the need to identify and analyse IP related issues more constructively, which will provide inputs for evidence based policy discourse.

The major concerns of competition law in regard to intellectual property rights are the abuse of market power and the detrimental effects, caused by exercise of IP rights, beyond the limits allowed by the IP law. IP provides exclusive rights to the holders to perform a productive or commercial activity, but this does provide them with the right to abuse their monopoly power in the market or society. The Comp-IP research programme (three years of duration ending in 2018) will provide a sustained platform for discourse and discussions involving different stakeholders from industry, government/regulators (former/current), academia, media, etc. Themes for conducting research for the first year (2015-2016) are mobile technology revolution & its socio-economic impact, and the importance of standards and standard essential patents in India.

CUTS Institute for Regulation & Competition (CIRC) alognwith Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS International) is undertaking an empirical based research to advocate for constructive policy and regulatory reforms in the IPR regime in order to foster innovation and competition. This research is envisaged to facilitate promotion of a balanced IP regulatory framework that promotes and advances technological innovations, resulting in benefits to consumers and producers in India.

Brief Methodology
An evidence based approach, pioneered by CUTS, will be implemented to undertake the project. The research programme will provide a sustaining platform for discourse and discussions involving different stakeholders from industry, government/regulators (former/current), academia, media, etc. Two research studies shall be undertaken in the first year, namely, “Mobile Revolution in India: Role of Technology and Its Socio-Economic Impact” and “Analysing Regulatory Framework for Standard Essential Patents in India”. These themes will help to identify and analyse issues more constructively and will provide inputs for the evidence based policy discourse, building and shaping policy consensus, based on ground level evidences. The activities, carried out during the course of project, will set the ground to achieve the desired outcomes:

• The project will involve extensive literature review, which will help in identifying the issues and defining the scope of the study. Literature review shall also ensure consideration of issues specific to India and finding the optimal solution. In addition, a survey shall be undertaken to analyse consumer preferences and perceptions on mobile technology, which shall help in establishing background for analysing regulatory framework for standard essential patents (SEP) in India.
• The primary research shall be conducted under two themes. The first theme would undertake studying of mobile economy of India, its impact across sectors and sustaining the growth of mobile sector. The second theme will focus on standards setting process, role of Standard Setting Organisations (SSO), interplay between Contract, Patents and Competition Law, Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) principle and applicability of injunction on SEP cases.
• The study will follow a multi-stakeholder approach and will involve all relevant stakeholders in the research process. This will be ensured through key stakeholder interviews, survey and focused group discussions. This shall help the study in providing anecdotal evidences, which when combined with the literature review, study of reports and policies by various government organisations, industry data sheets, etc. shall help in building a balanced, comprehensive and unanimously acceptable analysis.

• Policy dialogues and conferences
• OPEDs, concept briefs, policy briefs, articles, working papers, etc.
• Draft and final research reports

Over the planned duration of three years, the research programme is expected to communicate the significance of technological innovations and their economic footprint, the need for better regulatory IP framework, sensitised and better capacitated community and stakeholder groups and an impetus to the adoption of effective regulatory reforms.

Development Partner
The project is supported by Qualcomm, which is an American global semiconductor company that designs and markets wireless telecommunications products and services.

This project will run up to September, 2018, for a total period of 36 months.