India, Japan build an enterprising cyber future

By Daksh Kumar, Kochhar & Co
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In June 2022, India and Japan held a high-level virtual cyber dialogue. The joint secretary of the Cyber Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of External Affairs led the India side, which included ministries such as home affairs, external affairs, defence and electronics and information technology. The Japan delegation, under the leadership of the ambassador in charge of cyber policy, comprised similar government departments.

Discussion revolved around national policies and legal frameworks for significant and evolving areas, such as information and communication technologies. It reviewed and mapped progress in bilateral cyber cooperation and cybersecurity and considered 5G telecommunication technology between the nations.

Daksh Kumar
Partner
Intellectual property practice
Kochhar & Co

India ranked 46 in the 2021 global innovation index based on technology development in areas such as the political environment, education, infrastructure, and business. IT industry revenues in India are forecast at USD227 billion in the current financial year, up from USD196 billion the previous year, according to the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM).

As nations recover from the aftermath of the pandemic and deal with the economic impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the timing of such bilateral cooperation and the promotion of trade and commerce is welcome. India and Japan view these moves as constructive and productive. Cooperation in cybersecurity and information communications technology (ICT) will enable India to become an innovation economy.

Cooperation is expected to advance smart island and smart city projects in India using clean and energy-efficient technologies. Japan’s global competitiveness in optical submarine cable infrastructure has already led India to partner with Japan companies to advance the Digital India programme. The Japan-India Digital Partnership taps opportunities in the start-up ecosystem, with NASSCOM and the Japan External Trade Organization deepening cooperation and putting start-ups and technology-based firms in touch with Japan venture capitalists and strategic partners. Infrastructure for testing new products and services will be created, emphasising safety and security. Fast track approvals for experimental products and services will be simplified through the abolition of licences. Affordable spectrum for research and development will be allocated and test beds, incubators and innovation centres will be promoted in collaboration with industry and academia.

ICT and intellectual property (IP) should overlap through cooperation, as the IP system plays a significant role in helping businesses gain and retain innovation-based advantage. Overlap will help bring innovative technology to market with minimum risk. IP holders will have new opportunities, including attracting investors, strategic business partners and alliances to commercialise their IP. ICT will likely play a significant role in the development of blockchain technology for efficient financial transactions, perhaps resolving the uncertainties currently surrounding cryptocurrencies and their regulation.

Alignment of India and Japan policies benefits both economies. Law enforcement will better detect, investigate and prosecute cybercrime, particularly intellectual property piracy. Start-ups and other innovators will receive assistance in filing copyright, patent, design and trade mark applications. The development of standard essential patents for digital communications technologies requires financial and legal incentives. An intellectual property rights (IPR) regime promoting innovation will implement key digital communications recommendations in the National IPR Policy, including a review of the legal regime governing copyright, patents, designs and trademarks. Developments in the internet of things, artificial intelligence and 5G technology will facilitate and promote digital transformation.

Dialogue between India and Japan advances their mutual interests following a memorandum of cooperation (MoC) signed in March 2022. The MoC increases collaboration in cyberspace, cybersecurity information sharing, development of joint mechanisms for mitigating cyber threats and development of a 5G regime. Enhancing digital infrastructures will lead to joint venture invention and innovation, in turn boosting imports and exports in the cyber sphere.

Daksh Kumar is a partner in the intellectual property practice at Kochhar & Co.

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