SpicyIP Weekly Review (2nd February – 15th February, 2015)

spicyip weekly review

SpicyIP Highlight of the Week(s)!

Over the last fortnight, we’ve seen a comprehensive takedown of the Global Intellectual Property Center’s International IP Index. Shamnad took off from where he left in his Republic Day post with an opinion piece questioning the blind faith placed on IP rankings, and at a more fundamental level, in the belief that stronger IP laws foster innovation. He concludes that India’s marginal improvement on the rankings seem to stem from the simple expedient of making the right noises at an international level, rather than any substantive changes in its “IP regime”.

Kartik then took the criticism of the GIPC rankings further, with an incisive analysis of all the flawed assumptions it based itself on. He first highlights the fallacy of creating a uniform baseline for developed and developing countries and measuring them up against the same standard in spite of the fact that developed economies are informed by considerations vastly different from their poorer counterparts. He then mounts a criticism of the disproportionate importance given to the pharma and tobacco industries, which (surprise, surprise!) happen to be the biggest trade lobbies in the US. He also makes a broader claim – that rankings such as the present set place an undue importance on IP laws as business tools, rather than as mechanisms to optimise social welfare as a whole.

In the first week of February, we had Rupali’s post on the Linezolid case, in which the Delhi High Court granted an interim injunction to Symed Labs against Glenmark’s manufacture of an anti-bacterial drug. She analysed the threshold under S. 104A of the Patents Act that governs the burden of proof in patented processes, before examining the plaintiff’s claim that the substance in question had been manufactured using intermediate compounds that, in themselves, were novel, and therefore must have been produced using the patented process. Having flagged off the other points of clash, she also notes the costs and benefits of granting speedy interim injunctions in such cases.

I’d also written a couple of posts in and around the pharma patent arena. In the first one, I questioned the IP v. Healthcare debate in its current formulation, and advocate the use of Martha Nussbaum’s capabilities approach to approach the A2M problem better. In the second, I covered recent developments in the Sovaldi case, in which the Delhi High Court remanded the Patent Office’s decision to reject Gilead’s patent application for a re-hearing on procedural grounds.

This week, we saw an extremely interesting guest post from Raghul Sudheesh, containing comments on the Draft National IPR Policy by Prof. NS Gopalakrishnan and Dr. TG Agitha of the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT). In what seems to be a running theme, they, too, question the blind correlation between expanding IP protections and encouraging innovation. They then go on to describe an alternative structure for the draft policy, focusing on identifying the lacunae in India’s existing IP policy and addressing them.

Devika posted a Tidbit on the merger between IP firms Singh & Singh and Lall & Sethi, slated to take effect from April 1 2015, with a combined strength of nine partners and twenty six lawyers.

Towards the end of the week, Kiran took a look at the controversy (text-only) surrounding the Patent and Trademark Agent exams. She gives us an outline of the judicial history, noting the changes in the law with respect to both Patent and Trademark Agents. Finally, she identifies governmental lethargy as a contributing factor to the imbroglio, and wonders if more writ petitions will be filed before action is taken.


International Developments:

  • In China, Qualcomm’s antitrust settlement (dissolving its cross-licensing agreements) has led to ZTE and other patent holders aggressively demanding royalties from mobile phone manufacturers. The move is being hailed as epochal in China, a sort of “coming of age” in an industry that has historically been able to disregard the value of wireless patents.
  • MIT has sued Apple over a laser cutting technique used in Apple’s DRAM semiconductor wafers, alleging that Apple’s devices infringe on a 1997 patent granted to a pair of academics from the Institute.
  • On the copyright front, the Megaupload case saw its first conviction on Valentines’ Day, with Andrus Nomm being sentenced to a year and a day in prison. Kim Dotcom, on the other hand, remained defiant on Twitter.

Finally, we’d like to inform our readers that we’ve sorted out the glitches that the website was experiencing over the last couple of weeks. We might, however, be testing the site occasionally. Meanwhile, do write in if you notice anything amiss with the website.

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Balaji Subramanian

Balaji is a third year student at NALSAR, Hyderabad. He is currently an editor of the Indian Journal of Intellectual Property Law. He is fascinated by technology law and IP law, and is an active member of NALSAR's Technology Law Forum. When he isn't doing law school things, he wanders the country looking for quizzes to participate in. He can be emailed at [email protected]

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