A one-day Awareness Workshop on ‘Intellectual Property Rights’ for research scholars, faculty members of Dibrugarh University and teachers from its affiliated colleges was organized by the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Cell of Dibrugarh University on 15th May 2017. The key objective of this Workshop was to sensitize the participants on the basics of IPR and its role in enhancing the quality of education, innovation and research output including the commercialization and impact on societal growth. Dibrugarh University plans to introduce a two-credit optional Skill Enhancement Course (SEC) on IPR in conformity with the UGC model syllabus under the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) in the forthcoming academic Session at the Undergraduate level of Dibrugarh University. There is a dearth of IPR teaching resource material relevant to such courses. It is envisioned to create a teaching manual on IPR that could be used by the college teachers. This Workshop therefore intended to constitute a working group of the IPR Cell of Dibrugarh University, selected college teachers and internationally recognized IPR experts to work in synergy to produce such a teaching IPR Manual by December 2017. This is probably the first organized attempt in the country by a State University.
This workshop was inaugurated by Professor Alak Kumar Buragohain, Vice- Chancellor, Dibrugarh University. His motivating speech highlighted the urgency of creating a mass ‘IPR literacy’ movement in the state of Assam. Prof. Buragohain expressed his commitment on behalf of Dibrugarh University to organize and support efforts to achieve a critical mass of IPR literates amongst students and researchers in Assam to reap the benefits of Intellectual Property Rights in the innovation value chain. He also stressed on the need to take the benefits of Innovations to the society at large. It is imperative to utilize our rich heritage and traditional knowledge with adequate statutory protection in the innovation process by establishing collaborative activities between institutions of higher learning, Dibrugarh University and its affiliated and communities. Professor Buragohain indicated that our Institutions have very high potential which has largely been un-utilized. He strongly advocated the idea of producing a manual for teaching of IPR and lauded the IPR Cell for organizing this workshop.
Professor Prabuddha Ganguli, MHRD IPR Chair Professor, Tezpur University, eminent Patent Attorney and Consultant to the World Intellectual Property Organisation and Honorary Scientific Consultant for Innovation and IPR matters to the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India, gave a brilliant, lucid and insightful discourse on the fundamentals of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and best practices in the integration of IPR in the innovation cycle. He emphasised that the IPR system provides a platform for sharing one’s creations without ‘scare’ and illustrated the ‘care’ one should take for protecting their innovations prior to the sharing process. He cited the examples of how a judicious combination of IPR tools such as Patents, Copyrights, Industrial Design Registrations, Trademarks and Trade Secrets can be used to protect diverse features of an innovative product and/or processes for effective commercialisation. He extended his support to Dibrugarh University’s initiative of producing the IPR Teaching manual and which is probably the first such attempt in India by a University.
Shri Anjan Sen, an eminent IPR Advocate shared his experience in the field of IPR practice that includes registration of IP’s and their enforcement in India. Mr. Sen focused on the nuances of Industrial designs and patents with exciting examples involving items of everyday use such as cellphones, cutlery, safety pin, hair clips, etc. He demonstrated how the applications are prepared and defended during their Examination and how the right-holders enforce their IP through the judicial system.
The Concluding Interactive Session was conducted by Professor Prabuddha Ganguli and Professor Pankaj Das, Secretary, IPR Cell Dibrugarh University with intense involvement of the college teachers. The participants gave their commitment to join the Working group to actively contribute in the production of the IPR Teaching Manual. The Vice-Chancellor welcomed the constitution of this Working group and expressed his confidence that such a manual with guidance from Professor Prabuddha Ganguli would not only fill the existing gap of non-availability of relevant teaching material, but would also be a major leap in our effort to enhance IPR literacy and practice in the state of Assam. He wished this effort great success.