Innovation Patent

Light on IP

diwali-3“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” ~ Plato

On this festive occasion, let us embrace the light and bask in its lustrous luminescence! Happy Diwali to all our readers!

Speaking of light, tis’ time to hark back to our transparency campaign, a large part of our raison d’etre. From 2007 when we first shot off a protest petition (signed by many of you) to the Prime Ministers’ Office asking that patent data be available for public access, up until our RTI investigations into the authorship of the controversial section 3(d), we’ve come a long way. However, much more needs to be done to resuscitate IP data and unlock it from the deep dark dungeons of opacity. The benefits of transparency are myriad and I reflect on some of them here. 

Our new website is a further reaffirmation of our commitment towards “Open IP”. As some of you may have noticed, we’ve embedded a link (on the right hand side of our homepage) to the Lens, a true game changer in the patent information/analytics game. As the description on the site goes:

“The Lens is an open global cyberinfrastructure to make the innovation system more efficient and fair, more transparent and inclusive. The Lens is building an open, integrative basis for Innovation Cartography. Specifically, the Lens serves nearly all of the patent documents in the world as open, annotatable digital public goods that are integrated with scholarly and technical literature along with regulatory and business data….Ultimately, this will restore the role of the patent system as a teaching resource to inspire and inform entrepreneurs, citizens and policy makers.”

This wonderful open access initiative is the brain child of Prof (Dr) Richard Jefferson, a legendary polymath scientist and pioneer. You can read his bio here. And the story behind his creation of the Lens (and the rather cool term “innovation cartography” here).

I would urge all of you interested in patents and innovation to try the Lens out, not least because it is open access and free. I believe an advanced version of this platform is being tested even as we speak.

In the meantime, we bring you another wonderful offering, courtesy EBC (Eastern Book Company), a leading publishing house which boasts a number of leading Indian law titles. As many of you know, the Ayyangar report is the blueprint for the Indian Patents Act, 1970. And this Act was nothing short of revolutionary in helping create the requisite policy space to foster affordable medication and help catapult the Indian generic industry into the global leaders that they are today. As I note in this piece:

“This deliberate strategy of denying product patent protection to pharmaceutical inventions is traceable to the Ayyangar Committee Report, a report that formed the very basis of the Patents Act, 1970. India’s well-developed generic industry today is testimony to the farsightedness of this report.”

Tis’ a real tragedy that a document of this monumental significance was locked away in the possession of a privileged few. We procured a copy, but our initial attempts at digitising it failed miserably. Thanks to Sumeet Malik of EBC, we now have a searchable and easy to access version of this incredible report on our “Resources” Page. Please click here to access it. We urge you to dip deep into a legendary report, whose sagacious insights will continue to haunt our patent policies and decision makers for some time to come.

If you have copies of any old Indian IP legislations or policy documents that are not otherwise available to the public, do share it with us and we promise to make it available as part of our “Open IP” project: a project to foster more openness and transparency within the Indian IP regime.

ps: Image from here. And title credit to the legendary BKS Iygengar, whose classic title “Light on Yoga” was adapted…

pps: Although the authorship of the quote is contested, it makes for a great one anyway.

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.

One comment.

  1. george jacob

    Well said . Its amazing to see initiatives such as Patent lens by Cambia,trying to break open the IP space .On the flipside there is a bit of skepticism on using free applications unless they become the norm.
    Recently Stackexchange has come up with AskPatents , , an open forum to discuss about patents and moreover collaborate on the web to find prior art.This is truly a revolutionary concept and a giant leap towards IP collaboration.


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