Chandra Joshi, an Indian associate of mine filled me in on the recent amendments to Indian patent law. The amendments not only make Indian law TRIPs compliant, but also rationalize the procedures for patent prosecution. These changes now allow patents on products and remove provisions relating to EMRs (Exclusive Marketing Rights).
India, as you know, had so far permitted Patents only for processes and not products. With the new amendment to the Patent Act, it would now be possible to obtain Patents for product patents in Pharmaceuticals and Agro Chemicals. Under the Product Patent regime no new–use Patents would be granted.
The ordinance seeks to strengthen opposition proceedings by allowing for both pre-grant and post-grant opposition. The ordinance also seeks to simplify and rationalize the time-frame for process of patents. The time limit for giving requests for examination has been reduced to 36 months from 48 months earlier. Security provisions will also be tightened particularly for dual-use patent applications. Such patents will now be scrutinized by the patent office.
Further, software would continue to be copyright protected, embedded software that has technical applications can now be patented.
DDC Comment: I expect the change to have its greatest impact in the pharmaceutical area — up to now, India has been a pharma maverick — producing generics almost at-will.