The Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce (“Committee”) presented a report titled “161st Report: Review of the Intellectual Property Rights Regime in India” (“Report”) in Rajya Sabha on 23rd July, 2021. The Committee, headed by Shri V. Vijayasai Reddy, reviewed various Intellectual Property related statutes, practices and regulations and recommended measures to improve the current landscape relating to IPR. It included a chapter on The Patent Act, 1970 (“Act”) detailing shortcomings and recommending changes.
The Report, delving into the history of the Act, recommends a slew of changes to make the patent granting process more transparent and objective. It suggests amends to the Section 3(b) of the Act, which currently provides no guidance to the Controller for denying of patents, so as to make it more concrete and provide against arbitrary exercise of power by the Controller in declining patents. Further, it recommends the allowing of patenting of discoveries of non-living substances, which currently are denied under Section 3(c) of the Act.
Going into the punitive aspects of the Act, it finds that Section 122(2) of the Act (which prescribes a punishment by way of imprisonment up to six months on intentionally falsifying information related to a patent) to be too stringent. Taking a step towards reducing litigation in the country, the Report recommends changes to the provision of jurisdiction under Section 104 to promote establishment of alternative dispute resolution mechanism for ensuring speedy justice to the aggrieved.
Further commenting on the much polarizing Section 3(d) of the Act, which prevents ‘evergreening’ of patents, the Report stands by the provision and acknowledges its role as a protector of public benefit. It was apprised that India being a sovereign nation has the right and power to decide the limitations on the protection provided by patents. In the spirit of keeping up with the fast-moving world, the Report suggests the Department to update and modernize its website and portals to improve simplicity and availability of information.
Driven by the recent scarcity of drugs against COVID-19, the Report recommends that the Government should delve into the prospect of temporarily wavering patent rights and issuing Compulsory Licenses to tackle the inadequacy. Ending the chapter on the Act, the Report finds that Form 27 is crucial element ensuring the adequate working of the patented invention for the benefit of the public and recommends easing the requirements under the provision by relaxing the form filling to a yearly basis to reduce compliance burden on R&D institutions and universities.
The Report can be found at:
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