PRS is the brainchild of a visionary, CV Madhukar, who happens to be an Echoing Green Fellow and an Ashoka Fellow. For our previous posts on this controversial bill, please see here.
In particular, compare this with the original version of the Bill that we posted here. I haven’t undertaken a detailed comparison, but the compulsory licensing provisions seem to have been deleted from the old version. Not too surprising, since, as we opined in an earlier post, in any case, compulsory licensing provisons under the Patents Act would apply to patents arising from the Indian Bayh Dole Act as well. We noted in particular that:
“The bill provides for compulsory licenses and stipulates that the same grounds available under the patents act applies to inventions under the bill as well. This is not really saying much, as even without this specific position, that would have been the case. Patents on inventions coming out of government funding are treated like any other patent under the Patents Act and are subject to compulsory licenses. Given that these are patents arising out of government funding, the bill should have explored the opportunity of subjecting them to wider compulsory licensing norms than those that currently exist under the patents act.”
Sadly, the bill does very little by way of ensuring that there are either wider compulsory licesning norms or that the “pubnlc interest” is adequately protected, given that these inventions come out of tax payer money .
Strangely enough, the statement of objects and reasons that accompanies the text of the Bill states:
“The ultimate objective, however, is to ensure access to such innovation by all stakeholders for public good. “
Nothing could be further than the truth! There are absolutely no safeguards to ensure access to innovations, particularly, platform technologies and technologies that are in some way critical to the public. This is nothing short of political posturing and we must collectively expose this hollow rhetoric!
As mentioned in the last post, it is likely that this bill will go to a Joint Parliamentary Commttee. Let’s use that occasion to voice our opinion and let the government know that mere talk about “access to innovations” is not good enough. We will not sit back and suffer what appears to be the capturing of such an important policy initiative by vested interests, that have been immensely succesful in propelling the passage of this Bill in so secretive a manner in the world’s largest democracy.