008877 Damodaran A D (NO, , Sudharma, 9, Mangalam Lane, Sasthamangalam, Trivandrum-695 010, Email: email@example.com) : Indian patent law in the post-TRIPS decade: S&T policy appraisal. J Intellect Prop Right 2008, 13(5), 414-23.
The basic objectives within which patent laws are enacted in any country are: (a) promotion of 'R&D of possible industrial use' through rigorous legal definition of inventions and their associated attributes in terms of patents and providing them limited monopoly in the form of intangible intellectual property rights through law (b) encouragement of national techno-economic advance by making such rights conditional upon local manufacture, thereby leading to rapid techno-economic development of the country and (c) controlling potential misuse of the limited monopoly rights through compulsory licensing measures serving ultimate societal progress. To quote from the US Trade Commission itself, the basic objective is 'to promote innovation through proper balance of competition and patent law and policy' ('To promote Innovation: The Proper Balance of Competition and Patent Law Policy', A report by the Federal Trade Commission, October 2003). In essence, contents of a patent law are 'not created (per se) in the interest of the inventor, but in the interest of national economy. The rules and regulations of the patent system are not governed by the civil or common law but by political economy', to quote the well-known Patent Attorney and scholar, P J Michel, a point substantiated later also by the Lord Swan Committee (1948). In fact, the Indian Patents and Designs Act, 1911 enacted under the erstwhile colonial regime basically served to protect imported machineries and technologies against possible indigenous reverse engineering by Indians or other foreign trade/manufacturing agencies working in India. The First Patent Enquiry Committee Report (1949) and subsequently the 1970 Patents Act meticulously formulated through the Justice Rajagopal Ayyangar Committee Report (1959), however, reversed this process thereby giving rise to development of India as an 'advanced developing country'. Consequent to India I joining the WTO in 1995, the Act has now been made TRIPS compliant. A first level S&T appraisal of the post-TRIPS decade seems to indicate that major policy initiatives are needed to retain the past gains and to put the nation-building process truly on the forward path, failing which the existing 'knowledge barriers' may become even wider beyond the scientific-technological capabilities.