Shri Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, has said that with the coming of the New Year, two significant developments in the world of commerce and industry would open vast opportunities for India. "Both are connected with the world trading order, of which India is a part: one is the final phase-out of the Multi-Fibre Agreement, and the other is marked by India’s conformity with the international Intellectual Property System in all respects, on terms that are practical and credible", he said.
The Minister said that the Ordinance on Patents was the same as the Bill introduced last year but with improvements in some significant respect. Elaborating, he said, "we have introduced a provision for patenting of software that is embedded in hardware. We have also provided for a definite pre-grant opposition procedure. The earlier bill had only a post-grant opposition, with a weak pre-grant representation. After extensive discussions we have decided to have both pre-grant as well as post-grant opposition. Of course, we have rationalized the timelines, so as not leave everything open-ended, but have a definite time-table within which each of the stages should take place. This reduces by half the maximum time it would take for the processing of an application, from more than nine years to about four. Another significant modification is the introduction of a provision to protect Indian industry from infringement proceedings with retrospective effect. We have specifically provided that patent rights for mail box applications will only be available prospectively. We have made these changes after wide consultation, and we feel that these considerably improve the proposals". He further said that the Ordinance would be discussed in detail in Parliament in the Budget session.
Giving the background to the Ordinance, Shri Kamal Nath said that this Third Amendment was only the culmination of a process begun 10 years ago. The Bill was introduced in parliament a year ago by the previous government, but it lapsed (owing to the elections). "The new government set up a group of Ministers on the matter. It was our desire to bring the Bill to Parliament first. But it was also necessary to consult with all stakeholders and political parties. The last comments we received were on the 21st of December – and so it was not possible to bring the Bill to this session of Parliament. This has necessitated the Ordinance. The ordinance will be discussed in detail in Parliament in the Budget session. The ordinance is an interim measure to fulfill our legal obligations within the stipulated time".
(Release ID :6067)