‘IP and youth innovating for a better future’ is the theme for the World IP Day 2022. The day is celebrated all over the world on April 26 each year.
According to Population Projections for India and States 2011-2036, prepared by the Government of India, the youth population in the age group 15-24 years was expected to show some growth from 233 million in 2011 to i251 million in 2021 and then decrease to 239 million in 2036. India has a large population base in this age group. However, the percentage may be higher if we consider people up to 35 years of age. It is estimated that there are 1.8 billion young people (aged 24) in the world today and 90% of them are from developing countries. We, in India, are at the peak of young population pyramid. We must make the best use of the energy, creativity and risk-taking ability of the youth and plan for the next 10 years.
Innovation by the youth need to be supported by IP rights to transform their ideas into reality, generate income, create jobs and make a positive impact on the society. Concerted efforts must be made towards creating awareness and educating the youth about IPR. It is generally observed that youngsters are not conversant about principles of IPR. They launch their businesses without protecting their work, which could be detrimental in the future.
Start-ups, young faculty in universities, students and SMEs must be encouraged to file patents, copyrights, designs, etc. for their creations. In fact, educating youth about the importance of IPR must be the top priority for all educational institutions for the next ten years.
The Government of India has many schemes to promote IPR filing by youth under various programmes. Some schemes support filing of foreign applications as well. Special concessions in filing fees have been provided for start-ups, university faculties and SMEs. These schemes must be communicated to all the stakeholders through social media, internet, television and radio. Under the Start-up India scheme, the Government has provided Rs 1000 crore as seed fund to support them in the initial phase. A scheme called ‘Fund of Funds’ has also been launched to support start-ups in scaling up and expand.
Children are also legally eligible for filing and obtaining IPR. There are a few examples where children have obtained patents at ages as low as 4 years. Over the last decade, children in India have been encouraged to participate in various science competitions organized by the Government and businesses. However, the framework for protection of their intellectual property does not exist.
Women’s contribution to the world of innovation has also been exceptional. Their strength in multi-tasking places them strongly in the world of innovation, especially when different dimensions of IPR are simultaneously considered. They must be encouraged to come to the forefront and become inventors, start-ups founders and entrepreneurs.
CII has been working on creating a conducive IP ecosystem in the country both through its own efforts, as well as by supplementing the efforts of Government agencies, academic & research institutions, international organizations, foreign IP offices and industry for more than 20 years. The CII National Committee on IP comprises industry representatives from a wide variety of businesses and sectors. CII takes up various policy issues with the Government of India and international agencies from time to time to strengthen the country’s IP framework and turn it into a hub of IP driven industries.
All over the world, many countries are exploring possible ways to harness the innovative capabilities of the youth. Awareness and education are essential for harnessing the intellect, imagination and creativity of young people. Today’s youth are digital natives, and thus, education and training of youth in digital science and technology will not only enhance their creativity but will also play a huge role in strengthening the IP ecosystem of the country.