The Indian Patents Act, 1970 is the primary legislation governing patents in India[1][2]. This Act provides a framework for the protection, granting, and enforcement of patents in the country. Its primary objective is to encourage innovation and creativity while balancing the interests of inventors, the public, and the nation as a whole.

History and Evolution of the Indian Patents Act, 1970Edit

The Indian Patents Act, 1970, was enacted to replace the Patents and Designs Act, 1911. It was formulated to align with international standards, particularly the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The Act has undergone several amendments, with the most significant changes occurring in 1999, 2002, and 2005.

Key Features of the Indian Patents Act, 1970Edit

The Act comprises several important features that govern the patent process in India. Some of these are:

Patentable Subject Matter: The Act defines patentable subject matter, which includes inventions in any field of technology, provided they meet the patentability criteria of novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability.

Non-Patentable Inventions: The Act also specifies certain inventions that are not patentable, such as mathematical methods, business methods, computer programs per se, and methods of treatment of humans and animals.

Types of Patents: The Act provides for three types of patents - ordinary patents, patents of addition, and convention applications.

Term of Patent: Under the Act, a patent is granted for a period of 20 years from the date of filing the application.

Compulsory Licensing: The Act includes provisions for the grant of compulsory licenses under specific circumstances, such as non-working of the patent, public interest, and national emergency.

Patent Opposition and Revocation under the Indian Patents Act, 1970Edit

The Act provides for two types of opposition to a granted patent - pre-grant opposition and post-grant opposition[3]. Pre-grant opposition can be filed by any person before the grant of a patent, whereas post-grant opposition can be filed by any interested person within one year of the date of publication of the grant.

The Act also provides for the revocation of a patent under specific circumstances, such as non-disclosure of essential information, wrongful obtainment of the patent, lack of novelty or inventive step, non-patentable subject matter, and non-compliance with the prescribed requirements.

Patent Infringement and Remedies under the Indian Patents Act, 1970Edit

Patent infringement occurs when a person, without the permission of the patent holder, makes, uses, sells, or imports a patented invention within the territory of India. The Act provides for civil remedies, such as injunctions, damages, and account of profits, as well as criminal remedies, including imprisonment and fines, for cases of infringement.

Working of Patents and Compulsory LicensesEdit

The Act mandates that a patentee must work the patented invention in India, either by manufacturing the product or by importing it. If the patent is not worked within three years from the date of its grant, any interested person may apply for a compulsory license. The Act also includes provisions for the grant of compulsory licenses in the case of national emergencies, public interest, and anti-competitive practices.

Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and the Indian Patents Act, 1970Edit

India became a member of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) in 1998[4], enabling Indian applicants to file international patent applications under the PCT. This simplifies the process of seeking patent protection in multiple countries and allows inventors to secure their intellectual property rights across the globe.