9 Jun 2010

Indian Bayh Dole on the anvil?

We had earlier written about the Bayh Dole Act of the United States and now we have a legislation the lines of Bayh Dole Act for our very own country on the anvil. The Protection and Utilisation of Public Funded Intellectual Property Bill 2008 which seeks to ensure that intellectual property which emanates from publicly funded research is not recognized and registered but also used for public welfare. The Bill has, since its introduction in the Parliament in 2008, been pending with a Committee under Rajya Sabha. We came across this paper on SSRN entitled The Indian Bayh Dole: A Boon, or Too Soon? which seeks to comment upon the proposed law. 

However even before we introduce our readers to the article, it is worthwhile to point out that there has recently been some development on the proposed law in as much as there have been comments from subject-experts which have suggested vital changes in the bill. A news article on The Mint covers these suggestions in an enlightening perspective. 

Coming back, as the title suggests, in the paper the authors have sought to examine the advantages and disadvantages the country faces if the proposed bill was to become the law. The impact of the proposed law is sought to be examined in the light of the experience learned from the operation of similar law in the United States. The abstract of the paper reads as under;
A bill formulated on the lines of the U.S. Bayh Dole Act of 1980 is currently under consideration in the Parliament. The Bill aims to promote commercialization of inventions by vesting the patents of the same in the institution responsible for the invention. The following Article elaborates on the U.S. Bayh Dole Act and the implications of a similar Act, if passed, in India. While there is a perception that the Bayh Dole Act revolutionalized the U.S. patent industry, it nonetheless has had many equally, if not more, disadvantageous and dark sides as well. On the one hand, it seeks to promote transfer of technology and act as a catalyst to make the resultant products of the invention available to the public, while on the other hand it has been criticized as being an obstacle in access to research, thereby hampering discovery by other institutions. This is because not only is the product patented, but the methods and tools that are otherwise in the public domain also patented. The authors are of the opinion that the Bill in its present form can do more damage than good in a country like India as it fails to address the real problems that the Indian research institutions face like lack of focussed research, and therefore should not be passed. They have endeavoured to suggest other viable alternatives, like “partial-patents” and open source licensing through the means of this Article. 

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