Patent

From the Archives: The lobbying briefs of the IDMA, IPA, OPPI & ICPA for the Patent (Amendment) Acts of 1999 & 2002


Image from here.
Continuing from my earlier post on the archives from the DIPP, I would also like to share with our readers some of the policy briefs submitted by various industry bodies, that we managed to extract from the DIPP’s files on the Patent (Amendment) Act, 1999 & Patent (Amendment) Act, 2002. 
I have scanned and made available on the internet the following documents: 
(i) IDMA: The Indian Drug Manufacturer’s Association (IDMA), which is one of the oldest and largest industry bodies, has membership consisting of over 750 wholly Indian pharmaceutical companies. Since the amendments of 1999 were bringing in monopoly protection for pharmaceutical inventions for the very first time, the amendments were obviously a concern for the IDMA and they were most interested in ensuring the protection of the interests of their members. Working towards this end, the IDMA requested several Parliamentarians to write to the Government and convince them to refer the Bill to a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) consisting of MPs from both Houses. It was hoped that the JPC would hear the views of various stakeholders and convince the government to delay or dilute the original drafts of the bill. Towards this end, the IDMA even prepared draft letters for various MPs addressed to the Prime Minister. For some reason, even this correspondence between the MP and the IDMA has landed up in the file of the DIPP. 
Apart from these letters to MP, the IDMA also wrote directly to the Minister of Commerce Murosali Maran, urging him to refer the Bill to a JPC. Enclosed with that letter were: 
(a) A resolution of the IDMA to urge the govt. to include several flexibilities in the draft Bill, including ‘licences of rights’ etc.; 
(b) A statement from the conference of the Centre for Study of Global Trade System and Development & National Working Group on Patent Laws; 
(c) A recent press note from the IDMA. 
All of the above documents can be accessed over here
Apart from these lobbying efforts the IDMA also made statements in the press, publicly calling for patents and EMRs for pharmaceutical inventions to be delayed till 2016 i.e. the date for LDCs & yet another article on how the changes proposed by the Bill would cause serious harm to the domestic pharmaceutical sector. 
The articles and the DIPP’s response to those articles can be accessed over here and here
The last document from the IDMA that I found was an opinion by retired Chief Justice of India Y.V. Chandrachud. In the opinion the retired CJI claims that ‘licences of rights’ which were proposed to be deleted under the old legislation were compatible with Article 31 of TRIPs! 
This opinion and the Patent Office’s response to it can be accessed over here
(ii) IPA: The second set of representations from the domestic pharmaceutical industry are those from the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) which according to its covering letter, dated March, 2000 represented, eight pharmaceutical companies including Ranbaxy, Piramal, Cipla, Lupin, Sun, Wockhardt, Dr. Reddy’s & Alembic Ltd. In this first letter to Maran on the 23rd March, 2000 the IPA informs the Minister that it supported patent protection for pharmaceutical products provided that the same were balanced with public health requirements. Working towards this end, the IPA made a strong pitch for strengthening compulsory licences, licences of rights and regulatory exceptions in the form of Bolar provisions. 
Interestingly on the point of ‘data exclusivity’, the IPA states “It is therefore submitted that data exclusivity should be limited to a period of five years from the date of marketing approval in the first country”. 
After a brief discussion on tightening the provisions related to EMRs, the IPA urges the govt. to take a tough line in any future WTO negotiations. 
The above policy brief and the patent office’s remarks on it can be accessed over here
In a second letter dated 7th March, 2002 submitted yet another note on Compulsory Licensing, Right to Manufacture for Exports, the right of Indian companies to file EMRs and penalties for ever-greening and the obvious misuse of the Patent Act. 
The above policy brief and the patent office’s remarks on it can be accessed over here
(iii) OPPI: The third set of representations is from the Organization of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI). The OPPI which represents innovator pharmaceutical companies, most of them of a foreign origin opposed several of the provisions which found support from the IPA, including but not limited to the licences of rights and compulsory licences. 
The above policy brief can be accessed over here
(iv) ICPA: The fourth set of representations is from the Indian Crop Protection Association (ICPA), an association of ‘research based manufacturers and marketeers of crop protection chemicals in India’. In its covering letter, the Association laments the lack of strong IPR protection in India and explains how the lack of such protection is deterring their member companies from introducing the latest insecticides and pesticides in the Indian market. 
The ICPA had commissioned the Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies to scrutinize the Bill and prepare a report, which report was then submitted to the Government of India as a part of ICPA’s official representation. 
The above policy brief can be accessed over here.
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Prashant Reddy

Prashant Reddy

T. Prashant Reddy graduated from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, with a B.A.LLB (Hons.) degree in 2008. He later graduated with a LLM degree (Law, Science & Technology) from the Stanford Law School in 2013. Prashant has worked with law firms in Delhi and in academia in India and Singapore. He is also co-author of the book Create, Copy, Disrupt: India's Intellectual Property Dilemmas (OUP).

2 comments.

  1. AvatarAnonymous

    Dear Prashant:

    What are you really surprised by??

    The OPPI and the IPA both try to use their influences to get policies helping their constituents.

    A lot happened – many “patent” lawyers made unbeliveable statements to the JPC…

    Even today, a very big law firm – XXXXXXXXX Law Group works non-stop for ‘lobbying with the DIPP and other Govt players, with very little coming out in the public domain.

    Prashant – Dhanda hai … Ganda hai.

    Regards,

    Reply
  2. AvatarAnonymous

    The archives stories are OK. There are many news items of which IP fraternity would be interested. Awaiting for your story cover up with respect to the issuance of summons to DR of TM Registry and Directors of Colgate India and its parent Company for 27th June by MM, Patiala House in forgery case. It is long over due.

    Reply

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