Indian Bayh Dole to contain criminal provisions?

A news report recently states that Indian legislators plan on including criminal penalties under the Indian Bayh Dole Bill. Already the centre of much controversy, this inclusion could have more people up in arms about the passing of the Bill, and create further hurdles in India having it’s first ever Bayh Dole styled legislation.

What is the Indian Bayh Dole Bill?

For our newer readers and a quick recall for our older readership, the Public Funded R&D (Protection, Utilisation and Regulation of Intellectual Property) Bill of 2007- more commonly called the Indian Bayh Dole Bill- is a bill styled on the American Bayh Dole Act that hopes to allow researchers sposored by the Government to patent and commercialise their work.

What is the latest Spicy development?

As we have reported time and again, the Bill has been shrouded in secrecy and there has been no real report from the Government confirming the nuances of the Bill that will in fact be passed in the end. SpicyIP and various other scholars have pieced together several news reports to help keep the public more informed and create room for discussion, where the Government (for some reason) seeks to have none. The latest in the line of these reports is one published on the 28th of August in the Economic Times that states that the Law Ministry is keen on including penal provisions in the proposed legislation.

What are the problems with such a proposal?

SpicyIp has covered the Indian Bayh Dole Bill carefully over the many months since its conception, and it comes as no surprise that this new piece of information suffers from the same defects as all other information about the Bill- lack of clarity and transparency.

While the report states that the penal provisions are hoped to make the Bill more sound and act as a “deterrent for scientists from infringing their rights to reap profits out of their inventions”, it is still unclear what exactly will be subject to criminal penalties since the report at different points talks of the penalties for infringement and misuse by scientists. As we are all aware, the Indian Patent Act, 1970 has in Chapter XX certain penal provisions prescribed for various offences including, imprisonment and fines. However, unless criminalising provisions that have a wide reaching impact are mooted and debated, SpicyIP believes it imprudent to include such provisions as part of the already controversial India Bayh Dole Bill.

Spicy Endeavour

This report of the ET is an apt example of what SpicyIP has aimed to do: increase transparency in IP Institutions in India and ensure fair, objective as well as lucid reporting of IP News in India. We hope that if there are in fact provisions such as this to be included in the new Indian Bayh Dole Bill, not only will the Indian Government be more open to discussion over such provisions but also will the media provide more clarity when reporting matters of such import.

(SpicyIP would like to thank Mr. Nihas Basheer of Wadia Gandhy for pointing us toward this news report).

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