Decriminalizing Intellectual Property Offenses:  Jan Vishwas Bill 2023

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) are the legal safeguards that protect the inventive ideas and innovations that propel the global economy. These rights include patents, copyrights, trademarks, designs, and geographical indicators, and they serve as the foundation of innovation and growth in the economy. However, recent developments have focused attention on a critical shift in India’s approach to IPR offences via the Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2023. This article examines the bill’s complex landscape and the changes brought to the provisions of various IPR laws in India

Understanding the Bill

The Jan Vishwas Bill, 2023, which touches on many different areas of intellectual property, including patents, copyrights, and trademarks, essentially overhauls 183 provisions spread across 42 Central Acts. The main goal of this amendment is to make these provisions more lenient by either eliminating imprisonment or fines, changing the severity of the penalties, or allowing certain offences to be resolved out of court. The Lok Sabha first heard the bill on December 22, 2022, and it was passed in Rajya Sabha on 2nd August 2023. The Joint Committee carefully examined it, consulting with experts and stakeholders in a series of meetings.

The Upside of Decriminalization

The Jan Vishwas Bill’s proponents stress how important it is to match the severity of the punishment to the offence. They contend that applying harsh punishments for infractions that are relatively minor hinders innovation, discourages entrepreneurship, and burdens the legal system. The bill seeks to foster an environment where businesses can flourish without consistently being concerned with being punished for minor mistakes by advocating a more proportionate approach. A more effective justice system is also promised by streamlining the legal procedure through administrative adjudication mechanisms.

The Challenges for IPR Regimes

An alternative narrative, however, raises concerns about a potential deterioration of intellectual property protection. Critics worry that minimising punishments could unintentionally downplay the seriousness of IPR violations, encouraging a casual attitude towards the protection of creative rights. This might have an effect on both creators and companies, possibly discouraging them from putting time and effort into ground-breaking concepts.

The Rationale

The Jan Vishwas Bill is motivated by the idea of minimising government intervention and promoting business convenience. The government desires a business-friendly environment that promotes entrepreneurship and innovation by reducing the risk of criminal consequences for minor infractions. The overarching goal of “minimum government, maximum governance,” which emphasises self-regulation and faith in the private sector, is in line with this.

A Global Perspective

To contextualize India’s move, it’s crucial to examine how other countries address IPR offenses. Nations like the United Kingdom, the United States, and Singapore have stringent measures in place, including imprisonment for copyright infringements. These countries prioritize safeguarding creative works and view stricter penalties as essential to deter unauthorized use of intellectual property.

Critical Analysis

The Jan Vishwas Bill’s potential impact on different sectors of IPR warrants a closer look. The proposed changes to patents, for instance, such as reducing penalties for non-disclosure, raise concerns about diluting the significance of patents and hampering innovation protection. Similarly, the reduction in penalties for false copyright statements might inadvertently pave the way for misuse and unfounded claims, impacting legitimate rights holders.


In the realm of intellectual property, the Jan Vishwas Bill represents an intricate balancing act. Decriminalization can empower businesses and entrepreneurs, fostering a more conducive environment for growth and creativity. Yet, the critical analysis reveals potential pitfalls, underscoring the importance of cautious implementation. As India moves forward, it must be guided by a nuanced approach that not only supports innovation but also preserves the integrity of intellectual property rights. Only through this delicate equilibrium can the nation truly realize its vision of bolstering economic growth while safeguarding the essence of creative endeavours.

Get in touch with the Brainiac Team