Indian Bayh Dole and Transparency in Public Research

CH Unni of the Mint has a succinct report of the Parliamentary Committee Report that we blogged on yesterday. In particular, he stresses on the “transparency” norms that the Committee has asked the government to follow while revamping the Bill. He also has Mr Subbirami Reddy, the Chairman of the Standing Committee on record stating that a record 75 amendments were proposed to the original text of the Bill. If these are effectuated, we’ll certainly have a more evolved version of the Bill than what was first proposed. Anyway, Unni’s report is extracted as below. For the full version of his report, please see here.

Parliamentary panel calls for transparency in public research
C.H. Unnikrishnan

The Union government on Monday introduced a revision to the Utilisation of Publicly Funded Intellectual Property Bill, 2008, which has been tabled in both the houses of Parliament.

The changes to the Bill by a House committee call for greater transparency and stress that all patents registered by government-funded institutions and their licensing deals be made public.

The original Bill—often referred to as the Indian Bayh Dole Bill, after a 1980 US law along similar lines—which was drafted in 2008 and sent to the Rajya Sabha by the ministry science and technology, had faced strong criticism for lack of transparency on patenting and licensing of publicly funded research work and inventions.

Following objections by the scientific community and public interest groups, the Bill was put up for wider public debate, and a parliamentary committee, headed by Congress member of Parliament T. Subbarami Reddy was appointed to suggest changes.

…“There were a total of 75 amendments suggested to the Bill, and the government has apparently agreed to them,” Reddy told Mint in an interview on Monday.

….The Bill was meant to boost commercial utilization of publicly-funded research, and had mandated compulsory patenting and licensing of publicly funded discoveries. It had provisions to reward scientists for compliance, but also included penal provisions such as taking back half the funds already granted and a freeze on fresh funds to institutions that did not meet its terms.
The conditions had raised concerns among government-funded scientific institutions as well as scientists, while public interest groups said forceful patent protection and exclusive licensing of publicly-funded research outputs would lead to commercial abuse.

“I am particularly pleased with the revision to bring in more transparency in the law, as we had argued very strongly for more transparency before the parliamentary committee, since the money that goes into the publicly funded inventions belonged to taxpayers, and they should know how these inventions are being appropriated,” said Shamnad Basheer, a ministry of human resources department chair on patent law at Kolkata’s NationalUniversity of Juridical Sciences.”…..

Shamnad Basheer

Prof. (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer founded SpicyIP in 2005. He's also the Founder of IDIA, a project to train underprivileged students for admissions to the leading law schools. He served for two years as an expert on the IP global advisory council (GAC) of the World Economic Forum (WEF). In 2015, he received the Infosys Prize in Humanities in 2015 for his work on legal education and on democratising the discourse around intellectual property law and policy. The jury was headed by Nobel laureate, Prof. Amartya Sen. Professional History: After graduating from the NLS, Bangalore Prof. Basheer joined Anand and Anand, one of India’s leading IP firms. He went on to head their telecommunication and technology practice and was rated by the IFLR as a leading technology lawyer. He left for the University of Oxford to pursue post-graduate studies, completing the BCL, MPhil and DPhil as a Wellcome Trust scholar. His first academic appointment was at the George Washington University Law School, where he served as the Frank H Marks Visiting Associate Professor of IP Law. He then relocated to India in 2008 to take up the MHRD Chaired Professorship in IP Law at WB NUJS, a leading Indian law school. Later, he was the Honorary Research Chair of IP Law at Nirma University and also a visiting professor of law at the National Law School (NLS), Bangalore. Prof. Basheer has published widely and his articles have won awards, including those instituted by ATRIP, the Stanford Technology Law Review and CREATe. He was consulted widely by the government, industry, international organisations and civil society on a variety of IP issues. He also served on several government committees.

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