Report on Patent Opposition System provides recommendations on enabling ease of doing business in India

In a bid to streamline pre- and post-grant opposition proceedings and enable ease of doing business, Hidayatullah National Law University (HNLU) Raipur, today presented a report titled, ‘A Study of Patent Opposition System’ to Mr. Anurag Jain, Secretary, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Ms. Shruti Singh, Joint Secretary, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The Centre for Intellectual Property, Innovation and Technology of Hidayatullah National Law University has piloted the research project on ‘A Study of the Patent Opposition System in India’. The report authored by Prof. V C Vivekanandan, Prof. Uday Shankar, and Ms. Garima Panwar with the data collected by Lakshmikumaran and Sridharan, a leading law firm in India, the study provides a detailed analysis of the delay that occurs at every stage of the pre-grant and post-grant opposition proceedings in India. It focuses on life sciences patent applications/patents in which the opposition proceedings have been ongoing between July 2016 and July 2021, to understand the recent trends in the procedure followed by the Indian Patent Office.

Elaborating on the objectives of the study, Prof. V.C. Vivekanandan (Vice Chancellor, HNLU), said, “We undertook this study with a three-fold objective. First- to comparatively analyze the various stages of filing an opposition of patents across countries including the European Union, United States, China, Japan, and India. Second- to critically analyze the challenges faced by Indian Patent Office in pre-grant opposition, and third- to study the recent trends of patent applications’ filing and opposition procedure followed by the Indian Patent Office.” Patent prosecution in India is a long-drawn procedure. The rate of disposal and the period of pendency in India affect the rights of the applicant and may affect the ease of doing business priorities for the investors. As Malathi Lakshmikumaran (Executive Director, Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan Attorneys) points out, “It is an indisputable fact that patents play a significant role in innovation and thereby, economic growth. While the government in India has amended patent regulations to boost innovation, the pre- and post-grant opposition proceedings are tedious and often make it difficult for innovator companies to make valuable and sometimes, life-saving products reach patients. The restructuring recommended by this report will improve the patent landscape in India and make it more inventor and/or investor friendly, thereby helping in ease of doing business in India.”

Some of the recommendations highlighted in the report include allowing pre-grant oppositions to be filed within a period of 6-12 months from the date of issuance of the first examination report (FER); immediate appointing of hearing upon receipt of a reply from the applicant; robust guidelines to ensure the efficient disposal of cases; clear guidelines to assess the opposition and notify the applicants among others. About HNLU: Hidayatullah National Law University (HNLU) was established in 2003 by the Government of Chhattisgarh. Situated in the lush green surroundings of the well-planned city of Nava Raipur, HNLU is one of the most sought-after destinations of legal education in the country of students from all over India. Following its motto of ‘Dharma Sansthapanartham’ which means ‘for the sake of establishing the primacy of the laws of eternal values’, HNLU strives towards imparting advanced legal education by engaging in teaching and research and seeks to develop among students a sense of responsibility to serve the society in the field of law by taking to advocacy and reforms in law and justice administration system. HNLU is the sixth in the series of National Law Schools across India.

HNLU has been included in the list of the Universities maintained by the University Grants Commission under Section 2(f) of the UGC Act, 1956 and has been declared fit to receive Central assistance in terms of the rules framed under Section 12 (B) of the UGC Act, 1956. The university is recognized by the Bar Council of India under section 7 of the Advocates Act 1961. HNLU ranked 5th in India Today Ranking 2021 and 2022 and 51-/100 on crisis management during COVID by the World Universities with Real Impact (WURI) Ranking 2021 and 2022 and 201-300 among the innovative and emerging Universities by WURI is set to scale new benchmarks in the years to come. About L&S: Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (L&S) is a full service Indian law firm offering advisory, litigation and compliance services in direct, indirect and international taxation, intellectual property laws, international trade / WTO law and corporate & commercial matters including competition and environmental laws. Founded by V. Lakshmikumaran and V. Sridharan in 1985, the firm serves clients globally, through its 70 Partners and more than 400 attorneys situated in 14 cities in India. The firm is well-known for its high ethical standards, quality work and transparency in all its business dealings. L&S’s corporate clientele comprises of large business houses, multi-national corporations, banks and financial institutions including Fortune 500 companies.