India’s Patent Amendments

GS-2 or GS-3 Mains

Revision Notes

Question : Critically analyze the criticisms surrounding the recent amendments to India’s Patent Act


  • Recent amendments to India’s Patent Act rules face criticism.


  • Ministry of Commerce and Industry notified Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2024.
  • Aims:
    • Align with international standards.
    • Promote innovation and protect inventor rights.
    • Improve patent filing and processing efficiency.

What is a Patent?

  • Exclusive right granted for an invention (new product or process).
  • Requires public disclosure of technical details in a patent application.

India’s Patent Regime

  • Governed by the Indian Patent Act of 1970.
  • Granting criteria for inventions:
    • Novelty
    • Inventive step (non-obviousness)
    • Industrial applicability
    • Compliance with specific sections of the Act
  • Alignment with international regimes:
    • TRIPS Agreement (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights)
    • Amendments to comply with TRIPS, including introducing pharmaceutical product patents in 2005.
  • Signatory to IPR conventions:
    • Berne Convention (copyright)
    • Budapest Treaty
    • Paris Convention (industrial property protection)
    • Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)

Features of the Revamped Rules

  • New ‘Certificate of Inventorship’: Acknowledges inventors’ contribution.
  • Grace Period: Streamlined process for claiming benefits (Form 31).
  • First Examination Report: Reduced time limit to submit foreign application details (Form 8) from 6 months to 3 months after report issuance.
  • Statements of Working: Filing frequency reduced from annually to once every three years (Form 27).
    • Provision to condone delay in filing for up to 3 months.
  • Renewal Fee: 10% discount for advance electronic payment (minimum 4 years).

Criticism of the New Rules

  • Aligning with US law may harm public health advocacy groups.
  • Accommodates demands of industrialized nations and pharma companies.
  • Lack of transparency:
    • No parliamentary discussion
    • No consultation details
    • No data justifying amendments
  • Increased burden on patient health groups:
    • Pre-grant opposition fees not required earlier.
  • Discretionary powers for patent controller on pre-grant opposition filing.
  • Indian Patent Office workload strain due to high application volume.

Way Ahead

  • India’s large population necessitates affordable medications.
  • Amendments may negatively impact medicine availability and affordability.
  • Potential for monopolies and profiteering by big pharma companies.
  • Government reconsideration urged to:
    • Safeguard affordable medicine access
    • Remove provisions favoring big pharma


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