Indian Patent Law is defined by various provisions of the Patents Act, 1970. Under this law, patent rights are granted for inventions covering a new and inventive process, product or an article of manufacture that are able to satisfy the patent eligibility requirements of having novelty, inventive steps, and are capable of industrial application.
This article will discuss in detail about the Indian Patent Acts in context with the IAS Exam.
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Patents Act in India – Overview
What is a patent?
A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem. To get a patent, technical information about the invention must be disclosed to the public in a patent application.
- The history of Patent law in India starts from 1911 when the Indian Patents and Designs Act, 1911 was enacted.
- The Patents Act, 1970 is the legislation that till date governs patents in India. It first came into force in 1972.
- The Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks or CGPDTM is the body responsible for the Indian Patent Act.
- The Patent Office has its headquarters in Calcutta and has branches in New Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai. The office of the CGPDTM is based in Mumbai. Nagpur hosts the office of the Patent Information System and also the National Institute for Intellectual Property Management.
- The Controller General supervises the Act’s administration and also offers advice to the government on related matters.
- The Patents Act has been repeatedly amended in 1999, 2002, 2005, 2006 respectively. These amendments were required to make the Patents Act TRIPS compliant. TRIPS stands for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.
- The major amendment in the Patent Act was in 2005, when product patents were extended to all fields of technology like food, drugs, chemicals and microorganisms. The Rules under Patent Act were also amended in 2012, 2013, 2014.
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Patent Law Amendment Act 2005
Salient features of the Patents (Amendment) Act 2005 related to product patents:
- Extension of product patent protection to products in sectors of drugs, foods and chemical.
- Term for protection of product patent shall be for 20 years.
- Introduction of a provision for enabling grant of compulsory license for export of medicines to countries which have insufficient or no manufacturing capacity; provided such importing country has either granted a compulsory license for import or by notification or otherwise allowed importation of the patented pharmaceutical products from India (in accordance with the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health)
- Section 3 (d) regarding patentability.
Effects of Patent Amendment Act 2005
- Due to the new patent regime, increased prices of products was considered to be a major hindrance during the time. However, the government has taken proactive measures to ensure low prices for essential drugs, and has used compulsory licensing as a tool to keep exorbitant prices under check.
- The amendment intended to make Indian drug and pharmaceutical industries competitive at par with multinational companies.
- Despite initial reservations, Indian pharmaceutical companies manufacturing generic drugs have flourished in the last decade.
- Also, MNCs have opened Research and Development Centres in India.
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Pharmaceutical & Biotech Patents
Pharmaceutical and Biotech patents are registered in India after undergoing a stringent examination process.
In Section 3, which specifies inventions that are not patentable, under clause (d) where new use of the existing substance, process, the machine results in a new product or at best one new outcome, can be patented.
Also, the provisions of the patent law allow patenting of products in chemicals, biotechnology, food processing, drugs and pharmaceuticals, not just the process.
Rights granted by a Patent
- If the patent is for a process, then the patentee has the right to prevent others from using the process, using the product directly obtained by the process, offering for sale, selling or importing the product in India directly obtained by the process.
- If the grant of the patent is for a product, then the patentee has a right to prevent others from making, using, offering for sale, selling or importing the patented product in India.
Term of Patent
The term of every patent in India is 20 years from the date of filing the patent application, irrespective of whether it is filed with provisional or complete specification.
However, in case of applications filed under the Patent Cooperative Treaty (PCT), the term of 20 years begins from the international filing date.
Frequently Asked Questions about Indian Patent Act 1970
What is Indian Patent Act 1970?
What are the 3 types of patents?
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