New Delhi: What research exactly is patentable? What are the legal issues involved? If the student pursues a research using university infrastructure, is the outcome students' intellectual property?
All these questions by Delhi University (DU) students and teachers will be answered soon as the varsity is in the process of drafting an Intellectual Property (IP) policy to facilitate registration of patents, copyrights and trademarks by its students and teachers.
DU's Intellectual Property Rights Cell was established in 2008 with an view to helping researchers, inventors and creators manage their intellectual property rights through the legal machinery and also to manage its commercial aspects.
While, initially, the cell was headed by Dean of Research, the Human Resource Development ministry had earlier this year constituted an IPR Chair at DU.
"Students and researchers need to know what exactly will be patentable while they are pursuing a research? In the lack of a proper policy, researchers are often unaware of the dos and don'ts and face difficulty in dealing with legal and commercial issues," said Dr Rekha Chaturvedi, MHRD IPR Chair Professor (Technical).
The policy is expected to deliberate upon ownership patterns of the patents or trademarks, IP rights of students, teachers and visiting professors, copyright policy, licensing policy, patent funds, division of payment structure, IPR issues in digital domain, patentability assessment, invention disclosures and plagiarism, among others.
"Patent registration is a time consuming and expensive process and it's not that the job is done once a patent is registered, it's an equally tedious process to maintain the patents and commercialise it," she said.
"So, we decided to formulate a policy which, once in place, will be strictly adhered to while dealing with such aspects. Clarity on the process involved and the rights of the researchers will encourage more students and teachers to take up constructive research and get it patented," added Chaturvedi.
DU had last month formulated a set of guidelines for "Intellectual Property protection and licensing" and "Collaborative research with industry participation".
"Now that we have proper guidelines in place and a policy is expected in the coming months, the IP cell shall help the inventor in patentability assessment, drafting of the patent specification, copyright or trademark application and help in the filing of relevant forms.
"Since patenting is expensive, efforts would be made to get the patent filed through other funding agencies such as DBT, NRDC and DST (TIFAC)," she said.
"The cell will also undertake the task of corresponding with the attorney and the inventors on IP matters. The researchers will be able to focus on their respective projects and all the issues pertaining to patenting will be taken care of and the confidentiality of each research will be maintained," she added.
As per MHRD guidelines, the IPR Chair constituted at the universities are also supposed to undertake research in the various aspects of IPR.
"Currently, we are undertaking two research projects on 'Compulsory licensing' and 'Section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act'," said Chaturvedi.
Besides, the IPR cell also plans to conduct workshops at the various DU colleges spread across its two campuses to create awareness about Intellectual Property Rights.
"These policies and guidelines will be helpful for the students only when they know about them and are aware of how to go about any research which leads to patentable work. The students also need to be made aware of the precautions to be taken to prevent loss of patentability," she said.
DU is conducting an IPR workshop on November 2 in association with FICCI and Indian Patent Office, added Chaturvedi.
According to the university records, there are 168 patents registered by DU. While 71 patent applications were filed and published (patents under prosecution), 35 were granted (in-force). Also, 10 granted patents and 52 patent applications have lapsed.