Knowing patents the right way
Aashruti Kak – New Delhi
(From L to R) Dr Parikshit Bansal, Head-IP, NIPER; N R Munjal, President, IDMA; Feroz Ali, Advocate and Patents expert; S C Singla, General Secretary of the Himachal Drugs Manufacturers Association, and Secretary of Federation of Pharma Entrepreneurs; and Dr Asha Aggarwal, Head-IPR, Ind-Swift Laboratories, at the Patents Awareness Seminar in Chandigarh
In continuation of a series of patent awareness programmes, Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council (Pharmexcil) held a ‘Patent Awareness Seminar’ on May 26, at Chandigarh, where eminent speakers in the pharma patents field, namely, Dr Gopakumar G Nair, Advisor, Pharmexcil, Feroz Ali, Advocate, Chennai, and Andreya Fernandes, Gopakumar Nair Associates, made presentations on the Indian and International patent scenario in the pharma sector. Unfortunately, due to communal tensions in Punjab, the strength of people attending the seminar was low.
N R Munjal, Vice Chairman, Ind-Swift Labs, and President, Indian Drug Manufacturers Association (IDMA) was the Chief Guest. While Nair explained the patent basics and the implications of the ‘Indian’ Bayh-Dole Act to the audience, Fernandes gave an enlightening presentation on searching patents online. “Intellectual property needs to be exploited and protected at the same time,” said Nair. He informed the gathering the number of countries opting for ‘defensive patents’, which can protect their holder by either allowing the holder to counter-sue, or by preventing others from applying for the same, or similar, patents. Nair, during his presentation, went through all patent laws, pointing out the important rules, loopholes, hidden meanings and contradictions, if any. He also explained various terminologies employed in the laws and also elucidated instances where various countries have implemented new policies in order to encourage companies to indulge in ‘responsible patenting’.
Dr Asha Aggarwal, Head-IPR, Ind-Swift Laboratories, spoke on patent office procedures and addressed the current cross border IP issues in exports and imports. Ali, an expert on patents, weighed the impact that pre-grant oppositions will have/are having on patents. The seminar was later joined by S C Singla, Managing Director, MDC Pharmaceuticals, who is also the General Secretary of the Himachal Drugs Manufacturers Association, and Secretary, Federation of Pharma Entrepreneurs.
With the support of Department of Pharmaceuticals, Government of India, Pharmexcil had started a Patent Facilitation Centre in July 2008 and has been extending services on IPR matters to its members regularly ever since. Pharmexcil has so far serviced about 30 small and big pharma exporters by providing information on patent status of various drugs and formulations in different countries. The objective of the council is to educate and help pharma companies, particularly SMEs, to be aware and utilise the benefits of IPR regime and to ensure hassle (IPR issues) free shipment of their goods to various destinations globally.