Supreme Court judge Justice Hima Kohli on Wednesday said women in India face unique challenges in securing and protecting their Intellectual Property Rights like gender bias, discrimination at workplace and lack of awareness and education concerning these rights.
Another significant challenge faced by the women is the need for more legal resources and support, she said.
The apex court judge was speaking at 'IP Eloquence 2023 Annual Event on World Intellectual Property Day' on the topic Women and IP Accelerating innovation and creativity which was organised at the Delhi High Court.
Justice Kohli further said with ever increasing economic growth and globalisation, a robust IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) regime is critical for a flourishing economy and as a rapidly developing economy, India has been attracting several investments.
Women face unique challenges in securing and protecting their IPRs in India such as gender bias, discrimination at workplace, lack of awareness and education concerning IPRs. Another significant challenge faced by women in India is the need for more legal resources and support. Many women are unable to access legal resources necessary to secure and protect their financial interest.
This is also due to lack of knowledge about the legal process. Women also face additional barriers when seeking legal assistance such as cultural, linguistic and geographical barriers, which can make it difficult for them to access the support that they need, she said.
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Despite these challenges, Kohli said there is hope for a brighter future and while it is true that many women in the country lack education and awareness about IPR, there are now more opportunities than before for empowerment and growth.
She noted that though initiatives such as workshops, seminars and mentoring programmes, women are being educated about various forms of IP protection and this knowledge empowers them to take control of their ideas and innovations and to protect them from infringement and theft.
She said addressing stereotypes and gender biases in intellectual property is crucial to promote gender equality and ensure that women creators have equal opportunity to succeed.
This includes changing societal norms that limit participation of women in the workforce, addressing biases in the legal system and providing access to resources and support to women creators, she said.
Justice Kohli said there is a growing movement towards promoting diversity and inclusivity in the workplace and creating a more level playing field for women, and companies are now realising the immense value that women bring to the table and are actively seeking out and promoting female innovators and entrepreneurs.
This has opened up a world of possibilities for women in terms of securing and protecting their intellectual property rights and fostering professional and personal growth. The industry must create opportunities for women to enter and advance in fields such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine (STEM), she said.
She concluded that all stakeholders must join hands to ensure that women's intellectual property rights are promoted and safeguarded; that they are recognised and rewarded for their creativity and innovation.
It is not only a matter of access to justice and equal treatment which are important goals, it is also essential for the progress and prosperity of our nation. Providing women with the necessary resources, education and legal protection will open new doors for them.
"Addressing the biases and stereotypes that often hold women back in the field of intellectual property, will help create a robust ecosystem for the society as a whole. They can fully participate in the development of our society, fostering creativity, innovation and competition, she said.
She further said women are known to be innovators and creators in multiple roles that they are expected to handle at home, be it as wives, mothers, daughters, daughters-in-law and caregivers.
When the same creativity and innovation enters the professional field, it unlocks the potential for greater progress and prosperity, she said, adding that it is time for us to look through the gendered lens, stand-up for the intellectual property rights of women and send a powerful message to the world that we recognise and acknowledge her invaluable contribution to our society.
Besides Justice Kohli, several other dignitaries, including apex court judges, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry and Consumer Affairs Piyush Goyal and Delhi High Court judges, were also present at the programme.
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