Indian Patent Law will be emulated by many nations: S Chandrasekaran

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S Chandrasekaran, former controller general of patents, designs, trademark & GI, India, has keenly followed the Glivec patent case. Chandrasekaran, who headed the patent office when Novartis’ patent claim was first struck down, spoke to ET on the crucial section 3(d) of the Indian patent law. Excerpts on the discussion:

S Chandrasekaran: Section 3(d), which is a check built in our patent law to prevent evergreening and monopolies, is important because the government has a constitutional obligation to ensure that every citizen has access to healthcare. It is established beyond doubt that it is compliant with our international obligations such as TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights). It is an essential instrument to protect public health and should not be tinkered with. It is the perfect foil for frivolous patents and strikes a great balance between innovation and public interest.

What is Novartis India patent case on Glivec

The Supreme Court dismissed Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG’s (NOVN.VX) attempt to win patent protection for its cancer drug Glivec, a blow to Western pharmaceutical firms targeting India to drive sales and a victory for local makers of cheap generics.

The decision sets a benchmark for intellectual property cases in India, where many patented drugs are unaffordable for most of its 1.2 billion people, and does not bode well for foreign firms engaged in ongoing disputes in India, including Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and Roche Holding AG (ROG.VX), analysts said.(Reuters)

Patent attorney: Job description

A #patent attorney assesses whether inventions are new and innovative and therefore eligible to be patented. They work using the disciplines of science, law and language, and lead individual inventors or companies through the required process to obtain a patent and then act to enforce inventors’ rights if patents are infringed.

Patents are granted by the government and give inventors the right to prevent other parties from using or copying their invention for up to 20 years. The majority of patent attorneys work in private firms, with the rest employed by large manufacturing organisations across many branches of industry or in government departments.

Patent attorneys are also trained broadly across the range of intellectual property rights and so are usually able to advise on a number of related issues. They also have the same rights as solicitors and barristers to conduct litigation and act as advocates in the Patents County Court.

Patent attorneys are also known as patent agents.

Typical work activities of a Patent Attorney

The nature of the work depends on whether the attorney is advising private clients or is employed by a large organisation to protect their products but, broadly speaking, activities include:

  • discussing inventions and processes with inventors or manufacturers and ascertaining whether they are likely to succeed in being granted patents;
  • studying and analysing scientific or technical documents, including previously granted patents, to assess whether an invention is new and innovative;
  • writing detailed descriptions of inventions in precise legal terms (patent drafts);
  • suggesting modifications or extensions to the definition of the invention;
  • applying for patents from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) , often presenting complicated technical arguments;
  • preparing responses to reports from patent examiners;
  • ensuring application and renewal deadlines are met;
  • working with solicitors and barristers to defend or enforce UK patents;
  • conducting litigation in proceedings at the EPO or in the Patents County Court;
  • advising overseas agents on applications for foreign patent applications;
  • advising on whether business activities will infringe someone else’s patent rights;
  • dealing with assignments of patent when a patent is sold or transferred;
  • keeping up-to-date with legal developments in the intellectual property field;
  • advising on other intellectual property rights, e.g. designs or trade marks;
  • tutoring and mentoring trainee patent agents.

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