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Industry sees Chennai HC with dedicated IPD to clear pharma innovation cases earliest

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Friday, April 14, 2023, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Even as the Chennai High Court has now become the 2nd Court with a dedicated Intellectual Property Division (IPD), the pharma industry expects it to give a big push to intellectual property rights (IPR) in drug development and manufacturing processes. Delhi High Court was the first court in the country to have separate IPD. Also, now both the Delhi High Court and Chennai High Court will need to look out for a pool of qualified and trained patent lawyers to handle these specialised cases in a speedy and efficient manner.

To this end, Indian pharma industry is buoyant in patent filing. According to World Intellectual Property Indicators 2021, “Among the large middle-income countries between 2017-2019, applicants residing in India filed 17.8% of total patent applications in pharmaceuticals.” Several pharma companies have received patents for their products and innovations.

Dr B R Jagashetty, former National Adviser (Drugs Control) to Union health ministry and CDSCO and former Karnataka State Drugs Controller who holds a PhD in Patent Law related to pharma, noted that Chennai High Court setting up the IP Division is a clear indication that the court will clear pharma innovation cases earliest. This is even as the government in its Union Budget 2023-24 proposed policies for innovation and novel research.

Even the Parliamentary Panel also suggested to the Union government that it should encourage High Courts in the country to set up IPDs for effective and timely resolution of IP cases. We see the need that after Chennai, High Courts of Kolkata and Mumbai also open up IPDs, Dr Jagashetty said.

The need to set up IP Division in the Delhi High Court came about following the abolishing of the Indian Patent Appellate Board during 2021 under an ordinance titled Tribunal Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) on April 4, 2021. This was brought in with the intent that all appeals pending & forthcoming shall now be dealt by the High Courts in India. So when Delhi High Court set up the IPD, around 5,000 cases were transferred here, he added.

Detailing on the seven types of IPRs namely Copyrights, Trademarks, patents, Geographical Indicators, Plant Varieties, Industrial Designs and Semi-Conductor Integrated Circuit Layout Designs, Dr Jagashetty said specifically for pharma it is related to innovation in medicines and process of manufacture. 

Even as Chennai High Court puts in place the required infrastructure, it will need the qualified and trained judges and supporting advocate teams to handle patents which are a critical component of pharma operations among others, said Dr Jagashetty told Pharmabiz.

Bindu Sharma, Patent Attorney and Chief Executive Officer, Origiin IP Solutions LLP, said, “After Delhi High Court, now Chennai High Court established an IPD to deal IPR issues such as patent, copyright, design, plant variety, semiconductor chip set design and traditional knowledge. In 2021, after IPAB was abolished, having IPD in the High Court was much-needed to speed up disposal of cases. On April 5th 2023, the Madras High Court has notified the IPD Rules, 2022. The scope of IPD is very broad because it is applicable to a wide range of IPRs and it will be able to deal with the matters related to IPR protection, disputes, data exclusivity, privacy etc. We are confident that having IPD in the High Court will prove to be extremely effective to ease out IPR disputes.


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