New Delhi: Commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said the government will ensure the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) of the film and music industry as any kind of piracy is “absolutely unacceptable".

Addressing participants of three-day national workshop on enforcement of intellectual property rights, the minister said that film and music industry representatives have been in a constant engagement with the ministry on IPR issue. Without naming the film, Sitharaman said a popular film in India has already been pirated and people are getting it at their doorsteps, “which is absolutely unacceptable".

“We are ensuring that their call for protecting the rights of music and film will be fully attended to," she said, adding the government would soon appoint a chairman to an intellectual property appellate board together with a copyright board. She said the government values the rights of IPR holders. “Telugu film industry and film chamber of commerce have been approaching Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) to know their IP rights and ways to protect them," she added. Talking about the workshop, Sitharaman said that through this exercise, the ministry is trying to build awareness about protection of IPRs.

“We are going to bring in certain level of credibility and build awareness among people who are IP holders and institutions which should know where they have to intervene, so that rule of law play its role," she added. The minister informed that special courts are being set up for speedy resolution of disputes. The ministry is also encouraging institutionalized arbitration processes to settle cases outside courts. Further, Sitharaman added that embassies too have a critical role to play in this area. She said that a government task force on innovation has submitted its report and the ministry is “engaged to understand what they can draw from it and to do better in innovation".

Speaking at the function, secretary in the department of industrial policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ramesh Abhishek, said the ministry is taking steps to reduce the time taken for examining patent and trademark applications. He said 458 new patent examiners have been recruited, besides 57 regular trademark examiners. Augmentation of manpower has helped in reducing examination time for trademarks from 13 months to one month.

“The examination of patent applications in the first four months this year has shot up fivefold to over 16,000," he added. The three-day workshop is being organized to increase awareness about IP rights among officials of enforcement agencies such as police and customs. The workshop acts as a platform for the officials to share their experiences, best practices and promote better inter-agency coordination.

The CIPAM, a professional body under the aegis of the DIPP, is organizing this event. This exercise is part of the implementation of the national IPR policy, released by the government last year. The policy lays down seven objectives, including awareness, generation of IPRs and legal and legislative framework.

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