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ARTICLES

April 18, 2018

Unauthorized Biographies: Balancing the right to privacy with the right to know

Indian Courts have consistently upheld the existence of the right to privacy of individuals. While biographies are important sources informing people of the life stories of their leaders and celebrities, it is important for the authors and the publishers to strictly follow the broad principles that have been laid down by the Courts. There are clear guidelines on how only what is in public domain may be reproduced in a publication. What qualifies as public domain, and where might the author be required to produce written consent is an important understanding to avoid injunctions and other repercussions.

April 17, 2018

Criminal Defamation: A ‘Reasonable Restriction’ on Freedom of Speech?

Defamation in India is both a civil and a criminal offense. Conceived by Lord Macaulay in 1837 in the first draft of the Indian Penal Code and subsequently codified in 1860, Defamation Laws were along the same lines of the prevailing English law. The UK itself has since decriminalized Criminal Defamation where as Indian Law is unchanged in its stance on the subject. This article looks into the history, the current position of Defamation Law in the country and also at the voices raised against it.

April 16, 2018

GM plants and seeds cannot be patented in India: Delhi HC

The Delhi High court comes to a decision in the ongoing dispute between the Monsanto Group of Companies and the Nuziveedu Group of Companies. A far-reaching decision and the first on the patentability of genetically modified plants, the court has held that genetically modified plants, genetically modified seeds and gene sequences that provide genetic traits to plants are not patentable subject matter in India.

April 14, 2018

Whose Name is it Anyway?: Intellectual property in titles of books and avenues for protection

How should an author protect the intellectual property that vests in a title? And more significantly, is there any intellectual property in a title? Though it seems there is no copyright protection of title as yet provided by law, one could seek protection through Trademark. This article details avenues of protection available in the current scenario.

April 13, 2018

Can GUIs be protected as designs in India?

Many countries offer some form of design protection or other to GUIs, such as USA, China, Brazil, EU, South Africa and so on. In India, however, while the Designs Act, 2002, recognises the protection of GUI, but the Indian Design Office is reluctant to register them under Industrial Design Protection. The following article looks into a case involving Amazon Technologies, Inc. (Amazon), where class 14-02 of the Design Act came under fire, to gain insight into how this is currently working in India.

March 29, 2018

Towards a more meaningful and efficient “Working of patents” requirement

Law requires patent holders to submit statements of working on a regular basis. Since in many cases the requirement is not being complied with, a public interest litigation was filed in the Delhi High Court in 2015, asking the Patent Office to take action against those who did not submit this information. The IPO called for comments as a pre-cursor to hosting a stakeholder consultation on the issue of working of patents. The team at Obhan & Associates has made a formal submission of our comments on the matter to the IPO.

March 24, 2018

Copyright in Perpetuity

The debate over copyright in perpetuity versus copyright for a limited term is as old as the law that we inherited itself. Amitabh Bachchan has recently brought the debate to the fore again, arguing how his father’s works, that are essentially his inheritence, be allowed to go into public domain. The question also raised is how was the time period of copyright after death of the author decided? Why 60, why not 61, why not 59 years?

March 15, 2018

India Joins the Digital Access Service

The debate over copyright in perpetuity versus copyright for a limited term is as old as the law that we inherited itself. Amitabh Bachchan has recently brought the debate to the fore again, arguing how his father’s works, that are essentially his inheritence, be allowed to go into public domain. The question also raised is how was the time period of copyright after death of the author decided? Why 60, why not 61, why not 59 years?

February 23, 2018

Biodiversity and Ip – Filing and Prosecuting Patent Applications That Use Biological Resources

Patent applications for inventions that use biological resources require approval from NBA. Aspects to keep in mind are the nationality of the applicant, source of the biological resource and does the invention relate to a biological resource defined under BDA.

February 22, 2018

Biodiversity and IP: The Struggle Is Real

There has been a steady increase in the number of patent applications centered around biological resources. The Biological Diversity Act and its provisions are an important consideration while filing or prosecuting such patents.

January 15, 2018

Changes to the FDI Policy 2017

A number of amendments to the FDI Policy, 2017 have been approved by the Union Cabinet. Single Brand Retail Trading no longer requires government approval for FDI.

January 10, 2018

Foreign Start-ups Now Eligible for Patent Fee Reduction and Expedited

The 2017 amendment to Patent Rules, 2003 have allowed inclusion of foreign entities under the definition of start-up. They must, like Indian start-ups, fulfill the criteria for turnover and period of incorporation as per Start-up India Initiative.

October 23, 2017

Fdi India Entry Options

India is an attractive destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). A foreign entity can establish its presence in India, depending on the proposed activities of such entity, either through the opening of a liaison office, a project office, a branch office or by directly investing in an Indian company or a partnership firm or a LLP. Here is a brief overview of each of the aforesaid entities and the activities permitted to be carried on by them.

October 14, 2017

Fast Track Insolvency Resolution Process for Start-ups

While 2015 was a year of big-ticket funding rounds, 2016 is a year that was harsh reality for India’s startup ecosystem: 212 start-ups did not survive to see 2017. Majority of start-ups fail, making investing in start-ups risky for investors. In a bid to ease recovery of dues from start-ups and enable faster exit, on June 14, 2107 the Central Government notified the provisions of the Fast Track Insolvency Resolution Process under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.

October 5, 2017

Intellectual Property Licensing in India

A license agreement is a document, executed between two or more parties, evidencing the terms and conditions of such contractual license. Under the license, the licensor maintains title in the IP and the licensee is authorized tomake use of the IP only in accordance with the terms and conditions of the license. There are a number of issues that arise when a license is granted.

October 3, 2017

Right to Privacy –a Fundamental Right

Justice(Retd.) KS Puttuswamy challenged the biometric identity scheme Aadhaar, saying it violated the fundamental right to privacy. The constitutional bench set up to see if privacy is, in fact, a constitutional right, established that it is a constitutionally protected right that emerges from right to life and liberty.

September 22, 2017

Seat of Arbitration is Akin to an Exclusive Jurisdiction Clause

In a recent judgment, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has ruled that a neutral venue, once selected as the ‘seat’, will have exclusive jurisdiction even though no part of the cause of action may have arisen at the neutral venue.

July 7, 2017

Rera: A Step in Reforming the Indian Real Estate Sector

RERA, a breakthrough reform in the real-estate sector, brings relief to homebuyers. Issues of delayed possession, ambiguity in carpet area, unfair practices, questionable documentation and permissions, will now in all probability be addressed in favour of the consumer. This brings about a much-needed transparency and structure to this otherwise disorganized system.

June 21, 2017

Importing Plants into India: Processes and Challenges

Home to one of the world’s most bio diverse ecosystems, India must safeguard plant biosecurity. Laws and regulations governing this seek to prevent, minimize and control the introduction and spread of pests in international trade of plants.

April 11, 2017

Ip Rights for Gm Seeds

With agricultural companies filing patents for chemical composition of substances to equipment to gene sequences and methods of genetic transformation, a controversy has emerged in the IPR of GM seeds. These contain man-made gene sequences. This is making companies seek indirect patent rights on the seed itself.

April 10, 2017

Monsanto Vs. Indian Seed Companies: Enforcement of Rejected Patent Claims?

With Monsanto filing claims against various Indian seed companies and invoking arbitration proceedings, nearly 2/3 of the cotton seed industry and farmers are questioning the alleged patent rights of Monsanto. It is important to examine the patent issue involved to gain clarity on the matter

March 9, 2017

Easing Labour Compliances

The Ease of Compliance Rules enables employers to maintain consolidated registers instead of the larger number required before. The government recognized the need to simplify and expedite compliances under the nine national labour laws.

January 14, 2017

The Plant Variety Authority and Bt Cotton: A Case of Regulatory Capture?

Once a transgenic plant variety is approved and released, others can be created from it. When these further varieties seek registration, they must submit an NOC from the first developer. In the case of Bt cotton, this entity is Monsanto. Indian seed companies have to enter exploitative agreements with Monsanto to obtain NOC. This is a study of whether the NOC requirement is at all legal.

September 26, 2016

Patenting Computer-related Inventions in India

Foreign conglomerates seeking to invest and manufacture in India remain concerned about IP rights protection, especially patenting of computer-related inventions. The guidelines issued clarify the scope and protection of such inventions. Here is a look at the present status.

July 7, 2016

Patenting in Biotechnology – The Indian Scenario

Standing among the top 12 biotechnology destinations in the world, India’s biotechnology is growing rapidly at a compound annual rate of 20%. Even so, patent filing in this field has decreased. This could be attributed to more stringent criteria for patentability and grant of patents in this domain.

October 3, 2015

Striking a Balance Between Patents and Competition

Where Competition Law is based on the principle that competition is desirable in a free market, IP Laws seek to promote innovation and safeguard the interests of inventors by granting monopolies. The intersection between the two has prompted a long-standing debate and revealed the need to strike a balance, so as to safeguard the rights of innovators and at the same time protect consumers.

July 7, 2015

Double Patenting

Once the time period of a patent expires, the rights lapse and the invention enters the public domain. Double Patenting – multiple patents for the same invention – is an issue quite ambiguous. In India, especially, this appears to be a grey area and poses a need for debate.

July 7, 2014

How to Make Permissible Amendments to Patents

When prosecuting a patent application or defending a revocation, there are routine requests for amendments of patent claims or descriptions. This brings to light the ambiguity surrounding the nature and extent of permissible amendments.

July 7, 2013

Searching for Clarity in India’s Divisional Applications

In the face of a series of IPAB decisions, the so far unchallenged practice of filing divisional applications has come under a re-evaluation. A discussion on these changes brings forth the implications of these decisions on future applicants.

September 1, 2011

Computer Implemented Inventions

Computers, constantly evolving with a host of new inventions, have lead to a barrage of patent applications. So also are evolving the set of parameters to evaluate Computer Implemented Inventions leading to debate on their patentability and standard tests to assess CIIs.

September 1, 2010

Questions Emerge Over Working of Patents

The enforcement of working requirement by the Indian Patent Office has sparked a continuing debate on the matter. This discussion reviews India’s requirements in particular on the working of imported inventions and their impact on compulsory licenses.

September 1, 2009

Strategy in Assigning Patents

In the absence of specific regulations, the ownership of inventions made by employees is governed by common law in India. The evolution of employer-employee relations in recent times have significant implications on the intellectual property created in the course of such a relationship. It is important to understand the subtle changes and evaluate what they mean for employers and employees.