Patent Licensing in times of Covid-19 Pandemic

The entire world has been grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic for some time now, and efforts are on to find a treatment protocol and vaccine. Several drugs and treatment therapies are being tried and tested to find a cure for this pandemic. In the middle of this fervent R&D activity, some questions come to mind — what about IP protection? How would companies commercialise a cure — if and when it is finally found? How would the cure be available to the public en-masse at affordable prices? Enter patent law and the aspect of Licencing.
Continue Reading To Protect or Not to Protect that is the Question : Patent Licensing in times of Covid-19 Pandemic

COGNIZABILITY OF COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT DEBATE IS BACK

The question of whether the offence of copyright infringement under the Copyright Act, 1957 (the “Copyright Act”) is a cognizable offence or a non-cognizable offence, has long been debated and addressed varyingly by different High Courts over the years. Recently, the Hon’ble Rajasthan High Court (“Rajasthan HC”) in the case of Nathu Ram & Ors. v State of Rajasthan[1] had the occasion to consider this question once again, and in doing so, opted to refer the same to a larger bench for settling the issue, thereby bringing this debate to the fore once again. This article shall analyse relevant statutory provisions and jurisprudential developments in order to understand how courts have dealt with the issue.
Continue Reading COGNIZABILITY OF COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT DEBATE IS BACK!

 LEGAL PROTECTION OF SOFTWARE IN INDIA

Introduction

As businesses strive to shift from paper to digital, there is an increasing penetration of software products across industries. This is particularly true in India. The NASSCOM Report evinces that the software products market was the fastest-growing segment amongst all IT services in India in FY2019.[1] While the making of software requires a considerable amount of human, technical, and financial resources; it can be copied within seconds, at infinitesimal cost. Thus, there is a need to protect software with the strongest available intellectual property protections. In India, the intellectual property regime provides a number of tools to protect such innovations. These include, patents and copyright. Each of these tools have their own set of peculiarities and will be discussed vis-à-vis protection of software, within the framework of cross-jurisdictional analysis.
Continue Reading Grooming the Law with Technology: Legal Protection of Software in India

Race to Space - Space Activities Bill, 2017 - commercialization of space

Spearheaded by the Department of Space and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), India has developed low cost indigenous space capabilities for peaceful purposes over five decades. The proposed Space Activities Bill, 2017 (Bill), seeks to dismantle the Government monopoly on space and encourage private sector involvement. Will it lead to advancement of the space programme?

Globally, the space sector is no longer the preserve of Governments, as entry barriers to private players are being lifted[1]. The need for technological advancement, cost reduction and emerging opportunities such as mineral exploration of planets, are some of the reasons for encouraging the private sector. ISRO began commercialising certain space activities by opting for a public-private partnership model[2]. It has since seen many start-ups, but has yet to translate into a wider role for the private sector.  
Continue Reading Race for Space

Intellectual property (IP) forms part of our overall growth strategy. This is the message that the Indian government is sending out like never before, as is evident from a number of measures that have been put in place in recent times. The trends show that the government is keen not just to augment efficiency at the Controller’s office, but also to make an effort from a regulatory and legislative perspective. Some of the changes strongly reflect the government’s resolve to push for massive digitisation to strengthen transparency and bring uniformity and consistency into the way the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) functions. The changes are aimed at boosting investor confidence in the long term and signal that India is a pro-IP destination with a conducive environment for innovation and the protection of IP.

The IP regime has been on course to harmonise with internationally accepted jurisprudence ever since India signed up for the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) with new laws, regulations and authorities set up one after the other in compliance with the international obligations. Amendments in patent and copyright laws, new laws on trademarks, design, geographical indications, semiconductor topographies, plant variety and biodiversity marked the beginning of this century. Coupled with these legislative changes, there were also steady changes in the administration with new IP offices and infrastructure set up.


Continue Reading Intellectual Property: On the Path to Reformation

This blog piece is excerpted from a previously published article in the Express Pharma, April 16-30 Issue and addresses the patent jurisprudence and issues in the pharmaceutical industry in India.

Innovation is the root of success in the competitive world of today. Creativity manifests in new ideas and technologies. New technologies when adopted make life easy. This could not be more true than for the pharmaceutical industry. With the Indian pharmaceutical industry en route to becoming a major player in the global market by 2020, there is increased activity in terms of investments in research and development, access to world class healthcare at affordable rates for the public at large and a renewed focus on development in rural markets.

Though patent law in India has existed over the years, jurisprudence related to pharmaceutical patents is still developing. From granting product patents, to specifically identifying patentable subject matter and incorporation of provisions for compulsory licensing, the law has come a long way since its inception. A conscious effort has been made to ensure that our laws are Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) compliant while supporting a larger initiative to ensure that life saving medicines are available at affordable prices (compulsory licensing, price control etc.).

Courts in India are getting increasingly sensitive to the complex and technical issues that form the pith and substance of complex pharmaceutical patent litigation. Patent litigation turns on opinion of experts and evidence, which are often absent at the preliminary stages of litigation especially the interim injunction stage. As such the practice of passing ex-parte interim injunctions has given way to a more rational and balanced approach, wherein questions of prima facie infringement, balance of convenience and irreparable injury of the parties are weighed, analysed and rationalised along with a larger public interest perspective. The Supreme Court has time and again insisted that patent matters should be handled on an expedited basis especially where issues of public health, access to life saving drugs and commercial interests are involved and that matters should expeditiously head to trial. Courts are thankfully paying heed to this. Times are changing.


Continue Reading Intellectual Property Rights: Building or Stumbling Blocks? – On The Right Track