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Patent Dispute Resolution System In India

Balwant Rawat

Evalueserve, General Manager, IP & Legal Services Gurgaon, India

New Delhi, India, November/December 2009: After opening its economy for foreign direct investment in the early 1990s, India has become an important destination for multinational companies (MNCs). The population of over 1.2 billion not only makes India an attractive market, but also provides a vast educated talent pool. Consequently, many companies have set up their research and development centres in the country.

Where there is talent, there is innovation. India is fast emerging as an innovation hub primarily in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, automotive and information technology (IT). Innovation involves investment, which needs to be safeguarded using Intellectual Property (IP) protection in various forms, such as patents, trademarks, and copyrights. India joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995, and since then India’s patent system has undergone three amendments to ensure conformity with the requirements of the WTO’s TRIPS agreement. The Indian Patent Office (IPO) has been modernised and is digitising its patent information. New patent examiners are being recruited and trained to handle the surge in patent application filings at the IPO. Recently, India was designated as an International Search Authority (ISA) and as an International Preliminary Examination Authority (IPEA), making India the only English-speaking Asian country to be granted this privilege.

During the past six years, the number of patent applications filed at the IPO has increased threefold. MNCs have been the major filers, contributing more than 80 percent of the filings. Although a majority of the filings are made by MNCs that seek a market here, or by their R&D arms, Indian companies are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of investing in IP assets and are embracing IP as a crucial component of their business strategy. The growing awareness to protect one’s IP is reflected in the number of litigation cases. In India, the number of litigations are on the rise, and they involve both Indian and foreign companies. These litigations have put to test the patent dispute resolution platform in India.

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