SpicyIP Weekly Review (7th to 12th March)

spicyip weekly reviewOur Highlight of the Week is Matthews’ post on the Monsanto case, playing devil’s advocate to Prashant Reddy’s post on the same issue over at IPKat. He first comments on how the Essential Commodities Act can be used by the Government to regulate the licensing costs of Bt Cotton. He then discusses S. 66 of the Patents Act, agreeing with Prashant’s position regarding the same. He then moves on to discussing the Competition Law issues, disagreeing strongly with Prashant on the same. He concludes by drawing parallels between Bt crops with SEPs, and argues for the enforcement of FRAND licensing terms on the former just as the latter.

Our first post this week was our new Fellow Rahul Bajaj’s analysis of a recent order passed by the Ministry of Agriculture, which regulates not only the maximum sale price of cotton seeds but also the royalty fees payable on the same. Rahul focuses on the latter issue, discussing how the government’s interference in this case may be legally suspect. He argues that the main beneficiaries of this order would seem to be Indian seed manufacturing companies, and goes on to discuss the potential ramifications of the order.

Shamnad Sir followed this up with his post on the Bar Exam. He comments on its continuing lack of legitimate legal foundation, and the recent developments that have re-energised the Supreme Court’s position regarding the exam. He concludes by commenting on the competence of the Bar Council of India’s regulation of legal education in India.

This was followed by Job Matthew with his first Fellowship submission, where he examines the debate regarding genetically modified crops in India. He discusses the various stances on the issue, contextualising the arguments for and against genetically modified crops. He also points out certain policy positions being taken by the government that seem problematic. He concludes by pointing out the lack of any change following the moratorium recommended by the TEC appointed by the Supreme Court, and noting the importance of urgent action in this field.

Rahul followed this up with his fourth submission to the Fellowship series, where he analyses the Delhi High Court’s recent decision in the Devagiri Farms v. Sanjay Kapur case. He provides context for the decision, discussing the increasing importance associated with ‘trade dress’ in Indian trademark law over recent years. He then discusses the judgment itself, first providing the facts of the case and then commenting on the Court’s reasoning.

This was followed up by Divya Mirlay’s second submission for the Fellowship, where she comments on the EPO’s recent revocation of a Monsanto patent on virus-resistant melons. She first notes the main reasons noted for the revocation of the patent and the intervention of India’s National Biodiversity Authority in the case. She then discusses the facts involved, discussing the EPO’s record on such patents as well. She concludes by noting that the revoke-by-opposition trend will run out of steam soon, and while the need of the hour seems to be political and administrative action, both of those are lacking.

Our next post this week was by Shamnad Sir, announcing the selection of Rahul Bajaj as our first Fellow for the 2016-2017 period and welcoming him to the SpicyIP team.

Our final post this week was Rahul’s first post as Fellow, where he replies to Ritvik’s rejoinder to his earlier post on the Mac Personal Care Pvt. Ltd. and Anr. V. Laverana GMBH and Co. KG and Anr case. He divides Ritvik’s post into three parts, replying to each in order: on the territorial application of IP rights, on the need to show existence of goodwill, and on the question of precedents.

International Developments

  1. MSF launches challenge to Pfizer’s patent on the pneumonia vaccine in India, to increase access to more affordable versions.
  2. UCLA sells royalty rights connected with cancer drug (Xtandi) to Royalty Pharma.
  3. Centre for Intellectual Property Law and Information Law Spring Conference: on the Scope of IPR Protection.
  4. Italy to adopt the first Sharing Economy Act in Europe.

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