A series of recent decisions show that the Indian courts have fully come to terms with the demands of patent litigation, says Vidisha Garg.
January 1, 2005 was a crucial milestone in the history of India’s patent system as it marked the end of the transition period granted by TRIPS to comply with its provisions on pharmaceutical product patents. Since then, India has introduced a revolutionary and promising regime, popularly known as the ‘product patent regime’.
Under this regime, India has opened its doors to product patents for food, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Now, pharmaceutical companies can obtain full-scale patent protection on their products and prevent local companies from manufacturing generic versions of their patented products.
While the new patent regime offered a host of new opportunities to multinationals and innovator companies, it became a major issue of concern for the generic pharmaceutical industry in India. The provisions of pre-grant and postgrant oppositions led to a drastic change in the patent prosecution pattern. Patent offices were flooded with an unprecedented number of oppositions against the patents/applications of innovator pharmaceutical companies. Some of the patents faced multiple challenges.
India IP law, amendments, TRIPS, pharmaceuticals