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Ramesh Shankar
Wednesday, August 24, 2022, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

An Intellectual Property Division (IPD) has recently been set up by the Delhi High Court to deal with Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) disputes. The IPD will replace the erstwhile Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) which played a pivotal role in adjudication of IPR appeals and cases. The Chennai-headquartered IPAB, which was the appellate board for the IPR related disputes in the country, was abolished in 2021 following the Tribunal Reforms Act, 2021. Now, with the creation of IPD, all these cases will be dealt with by the IPD which include all original proceedings, appellate and other proceedings related to IPR including revocation applications, cancellation applications, other original proceedings, appeals and petitions from the various Intellectual Property Offices (IPOs) and all other proceedings which were so far maintainable before the IPAB. The IPD will be presided over by Single Judges to deal with disputes and cases concerning IPR subject matter. Every IPR subject matter or case or proceeding or dispute filed before, or transferred to, the IPD, shall be heard and adjudicated by a Single Judge of the Division except those that are to be decided by a Division Bench as per Section 13 of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015. All pending proceedings before the IPAB relating to Delhi jurisdiction will now be transferred to the Delhi High Court. The High Courts of Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai are also following similar routes and are in the process of forming the rules to set up IPDs. The creation of IPDs in the High Courts will prove to be a good move by the government as the overall scrapping of IPAB, which efficiently had been dealing with proceedings involving complex IPR issues, had created a void in appellate resolution of cases leading to their shift to High Courts thereby increasing pendency of cases.

Of course, the creation of IPD at the High Court of Delhi is a historic development which is in line with similar global practices in this regard and will help in the efficient disposal of IP matters, as well as in bringing consistency in precedents set by the Courts in the area of IP law. It is of much significance as there has been a gradual rise in patent litigation in the pharmaceutical sector over the years. The surge in pharma patent litigation in the country is attributed to the amendment introduced to the Patents Act, to bring it in line with Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In 2005, India introduced product patents for pharmaceuticals due to its commitment under TRIPS. The Indian Patent Office started issuing product patents in 2009. As a result, the innovator foreign drug companies started filing infringement suits against domestic pharmaceutical companies, which led to a rise in patent litigation in the pharmaceutical sector. The Delhi High Court has been the busiest with patent litigation followed by the Bombay High Court and the Madras High Court. In such a background, the creation of IPD in the Delhi High Court will be a big relief to the pharmaceutical companies in the country which have been looking for an appellate court to resolve their grievances in the IPR disputes.


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