Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Thursday, November 18, 2010


A totally related (tho' unoriginal) post:
courtesy: Times of India


Since time immemorial, thousands of inventions by man have gone on to transform the world. The Trends team put together a list of 50 (in alphabetical order) that may have played a bigger part than most:

1. Abacus | 190 AD

Use of the abacus, with its beads in a rack, was first documented in China in about 190 AD. The Chinese version was the speediest way to do sums for centuries and, in the right hands, can still outpace electronic calculators.

2. Aspirin | 1899

Little tablets of acetylsalicylic acid have probably cured more minor ills than any other medicine. Hippocrates was the first to realise the healing power of the substance. At the turn-of-the-century, German chemist Felix Hoffman perfected the remedy.

3. Barbed wire | 1873

The world's most divisive invention was conceived not to keep people in or out, but cows.

4. Barcode | 1973

Barcodes were conceived as a kind of visual Morse code by a Philadelphia student in 1952. Now, black stripes have appeared on almost everything we buy.

5. Battery | 1800

In 1780s, Italian physicist Luigi Galvani discovered that a dead frog's leg would twitch when he touched it with two pieces of metal. His friend, professor Alessandro Volta made the first battery which were voltaic cells stacked in a Voltaic pile.

6. Bicycle | 1861

First devised as a gentleman’s plaything in the 1820s, the pushpowered hobby-horse quickly evolved to become the most classless form of transport.

7. Bra | 1913

New York socialite Mary Phelps Jacob is widely considered to be the inventor of the modern bra, which she devised as an alternative to unsightly corsets.

8. Button | 1235

Ancient Greeks fastened tunics using crude buttons and loops, but it took the buttonhole to popularise the little discs of perforated plastic that adorn our clothes today.

9. Camera | 1826

Though British polymath William Talbot was the inventor of one of the earliest cameras, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce produced the earliest surviving photograph on a pewter plate in 1826.

10. Compass | 1190

Sailors in China and Europe independently discovered lodestone— a magnetic mineral that aligned with the North Pole— in the 12th century. By 1190, Italian navigators were using lodestone to magnetise needles floating in bowls of water.

11. Condom | 1640

Egyptians donned them 3,000 years ago and the 16th-century Italian gynaecologist Gabriele Falloppio first advocated their use to prevent the spread of disease.

12. Fridge | 1834

Jacob Perkins was the first to describe how pipes filled with volatile chemicals whose molecules evaporated very easily could keep food cool.

13. Gun | 14th century

Gunpowder led to the creation of the cannon in the 13th century. The biggest step that led to the modern gun was Smith and Wesson’s metalcased cartridge, first fired in 1857.

14. Internal combustion engine | 1859

Credit for the first working internal combustion engine goes to the Belgian inventor Étienne Lenoir, who converted a steam engine in 1859. It spawned the billions of engines that have been built since.

15. Laser | 1960

Physicist Theodore Maiman built the first working laser in 1960. His device was based around a ruby crystal that emitted light "brighter than the centre of the sun".

16. Light bulb | 1848

Joseph Swan in fact developed a bulb before Edison, but the pair later joined forces and today share credit for creating the gadget we perhaps take for granted more than any other.

17. Locks | 2000 BC

Egyptians were the first to put things under lock and key about 4,000 years ago.

18. Microchip | 1958

US engineer Jack Kilby built the world's first monolithic integrated circuit, or microchip that changed the world of computing.

19. Mobile phone | 1947

The first mobile phone service was introduced by Bell Laboratories in Missouri in 1947.

20. Paper | 105 AD

The Chinese began using bark, bamboo fibres, hemp and flax to mill the first reams almost 2,000 years ago, but it took centuries for paper to envelop the world.

21. PC | 1977

Steve Jobs, whose Apple II, launched in 1977, was the first consumer PC to resemble the machines that went on to transform our lives.

22. Printing press | 1454

The Chinese were the world's first printers – they practised block printing as early as 500 AD – but a German goldsmith called Johannes Gutenberg was the first to construct a press.

23. Radio | 1895

Alexander Popov, a Russian, and the Italian-Irish inventor Guglielmo Marconi, separately sent and received the first radio waves. Marconi sent the first transatlantic radio message (three dots for the letter ‘S’) in 1901.

24. Telephone | 1876

Elisha Gray and Alexander Graham Bell raced to make the first working phone in the 1870s, Bell winning in a photo-finish.

25. Television | 1925

Scotsman John Logie Baird first demonstrated TV to the public in 1925.

26. The internet | 1969

Conceived by the US Department of Defense in the 1960s, the internet, together with the World Wide Web, invented in 1989 by Brit techie, Tim Berners-Lee, has shrunk the world like no other invention.

27. The Match | 1826

The Stockholm-based chemist John Walker was the first to discover that when a stick coated in potassium chlorate and antimony sulphide was brushed across stone, it created a flame.

28. The Pill | 1951

The contraceptive pill was developed by a team headed by Carl Djerassi, a chemist, in 1951, but wasn't marketed in the UK until 1962.

29. Wheel | 3500 BC

The wheel surely deserves a place near the top of any "greatest inventions" list. The earliest evidence of a wheel – a pictograph from Sumeria (modern day Iraq) – dates back to 3500 BC; the device rolled West soon after that.

30. Zip | 1913

Credit for the device's invention goes to Gideon Sundback. In 1913, the Swedish engineer made the first modern zip to fasten high boots.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS 1. Bow and arrow | 30,000BC 2. CD | 1965 3. Cardiac pacemaker | 1958 4. Credit card | 1950 5. Drum | 12,000BC 6. Dynamite | 1867 7. Fish hook | 30,000BC 8. GPS | 1978 9. iPod | 2001 10. Kettle | 1891 11. Microscope | 1590 12. Plough | AD100 13. Rubber band | 1845 14. Sewing machine | 1830 15. Spectacles | 1451 16. Syringe | 1844 17. Telescope | 1608 18. Umbrella | 2400BC 19. Walkman | 1979 20. Weighing scales | 5000BC

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bullpen to pitch – play-road for Indian IT / ITeS Industry

In a cross-perspective initiative, legal practitioners upholding facets of law relating to the field of Information Technology (IT) participated in a conference titled “The Indian IT / ITeS Industry Legal and Regulatory Challenges in the Decade Ahead” in Chennai on 02nd May, 2010 to discuss their viewpoints. Each of the legal practitioners, being a distinguished luminary, contributed to an outlook, which they believed to be the road ahead, and thus sought to achieve a paradigm conglomerated shift in outlook for the journey ahead; for every Indian IT firm in correspondence with their legal and regulatory challenges in respect of a unilateral world so as to achieve work compliancy on a global platform, seamlessly. In brief below, are the synopses of each of the speakers with their viewpoints:

Mr. Seturaman Mahalingam, CFO and Executive Director of Tata Consultancy Services welcomed the audience and speakers.

Honourable Mrs. Justice Ruma Pal spoke, at length, about the use of a practical machinery for dispute resolution – ‘arbitrations’. Acting in accordance with The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, she mentioned the plus points and negative points of the practical aspects of the arbitration options in India, and its contemporary criticisms. Her paper is as below:
Legal laureate Zia Mody who has raised her firm, AZB & Partners’ stature to the highest levels of national and international acclaim, presented her viewpoints on ‘Evolving Legal and Regulatory regime in India – Impact of IT / ITeS Industry’.

Baker & McKenczie’s Mr. Michael S. Mensik dug out issues in relation to legal constraints on cross-border flows of technology and their impact on India. His understanding and explanation of the various flows of information exchange in an organization brought to light the question of risk management within an enterprise in today’s world of global operations in which a single firm deals with information flow across various nations governed by various legal frameworks. Jeopardy arising out of ignoring the issues of compliance is a complete death-trap for an organization. It is hence necessary to identify areas of compliance risks and to plug those areas with effective solutions. His presentation on ‘Constraints on global flows of encryption & Other technologies and their impact on India’ follows:

A partner of Kelley Drye’s New York office, Mr. Talat Ansari, led the audience into the constructs relating to recognizing and enforcing international arbitration awards. His presentation included questions relating to issues wherein, a party in dispute arising from an international contract has won an arbitration award and the losing party refuses to honour the award. He highlighted the use of provisions under the Geneva convention, the N. Y. convention and its enforceable grounds and measures. Details regarding ‘Alternate Dispute Resolution in Outsourcing Contract’ follow:

Recognised in Chambers USA as one of “America’s Leading Lawyers” in the area IT and IT Outsourcing, Mr. Shaalu Mehra, Partner in the Silicon Valley of Perkinc Coie, provided his comprehensive thoughts on ‘Open Source Materials – Challenges Ahead’. He discussed General Public License and their evolutionary versions.

From England, Mr. Mark Lewis (partner at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP) leads the Outsourcing practice at his firm. He is versed with working parameters in relation to legal issues for IT and outsourcing companies. His book provides manuals on outsourcing. The major case in point of his presentation was a case study, BSkyB v EDS, which although was not a landmark decision had magnanimous proportions in terms of the fraud committed and damages paid. This case study brings to light the liabilities of misstatements in the business garnering process, its compounding problems, lies, deceits, and its (non-surprising) tumultuous repercussions. The case, in detail, ‘BSkyB v EDS: What it means for IT and ITeS providers doing business in the UK?’ is as follows:

Departing from legal issues, compliance issues, issues relating to fraud, and issues relating to arbitration, the conference proceeded towards learning the intricacies of what matters most, the money issues. Fund management issues, especially the (oft misconstrued) Income Tax issues were defined in this presentation by Mr. Pradeep Narayanan, Senior Manager with Ernst & Young. Keypoints, as presented by him on ‘Tax issues relating to IT / ITeS Sector’ are as follows:

Dr. Mohan Dewan, proprietor of R. K. Dewan & Co., who has single handedly nurtured his firm to become a one-window Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) workshop where all matters from filing to fighting are prosecuted zestfully, submitted his paper on issues relating to patents in the IT industry. He steered his presentation at the conference to enlighten the audience of how strong and needful the pillars of IPR are, for not only the growth of any organization but also for any organization to mark their territory. Explaining the growth of Microsoft where Mr. Bill Gates held onto his own against IBM, during the former’s inception days, by holding on to the copyrights of his BASIC interpreter (language) to understanding the need for IPR in today’s 4th wave (of patterns that shape businesses, economies, politics, religions, global affairs and social power interrelationships), he tickled the brains of the audience to arouse their curiosity of the options under the gamut of IPR and their concurrence with their respective works. His paper on ‘Intellectual Property Rights in the IT Sector: A bane or a boon?’ is as follows:
Software Patent

Mr. Arvind Datar, Senior Advocate, practicing at the Madras High Court, Chennai, submitted his worth of thoughts on the need for institutional arbitration. This ‘Advantages of Institutional Arbitration’ reads as follows:

From the European continent, Dr. Alexander Duisberg, Partner with Bird and Bird at their Munich Office, threw light on data protection and data security in accordance with recent developments in the EU. It is common knowledge, that with India and China developing as hot shot destinations for BPO, KPO, LPO and IT industries, especially serving the main offices located West, the idea of sharing data is a must. Ensuring that such transferred data is safe is a nightmare, not only for the firm but the countries hosting the physical office, at large too. Hence, Dr. Alexander presented the following presentation:
and shared the following paper:

A panel discussion, at the end of the seminar, was set up for discussing the ‘Future of IT / ITes Industry in India’. Speaker Gopalkrishna Hegde, Legal Adviser – RBI, briefly informed about ‘RBI Guidelines on Outsourcing’. Speaker Samuel Mani K., Head of Legal, Infosys spoke in relation to ‘Challenges of Disengagement’. He explained the arduous process of understanding the legal definition of ‘compliance’ in as many countries as the parent company wishes to expand their operations. Case in point was Infosys which operates out of 38 countries, and hence needed to understand compliance issues for every single country of their own accord. Speaker Satya Hegde, SVP & General Counsel – TCS further elaborated on ‘Corporate Compliance’ from TCS’ point of view.

The event concluded by providing fodder for thought in respect of understanding the legal factors to be considered for achieving a seamless IT / ITeS global industry, and the role that India needs to play in respect of Indian IT / ITeS companies to achieve this, hindrance-free.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Are patent agents ghostwriters?

As soon as any person begins to pen his / her thoughts, it is my understanding that he derives from a compendium of things, gathered by virtue of his academic, personal, professional experience, and corroborates them at a sub-conscious level by the prowess of his / her imaginative fuel to churn out a written package. It can, therefore, be a definite possibility that the human under question can eventually enter the same cycle of thoughts and run out of ideas to pen a certain subject matter in a variety of ways.

The trail of thoughts that ensues while drafting a patent application may be borrowed from a variety of sources namely, reference material, online content, offline content, actual working knowledge or even self-driven experiences of the applicant / inventor or of the agent drafting the application.

A Ghostwriter is a person who writes ‘on behalf’ of another person, with a contractual understanding in place that the ghostwriter continues to remain the bodiless entity and credit for all copyright in respect of the ghostwritten article subsists with the other person, which other person is the front face. The legality of such an ‘understanding’ may be questionable on certain accounts, such questionable accounts being an author whom the world believes to write books, but in fact, gets it ghostwritten. Many well-known persons pay ghostwriters, for articulating their verbose dealings in writing. These may include celebrities or politicians who maintain blogs, but of course, do not have the time an inclination to actually pen their own thoughts, but feel the need to do so for sake of personal relationship with his / her followers. But, illegal cases arise, wherein a consumer pays to read ‘claimed original’ stuff from an author, but is hoodwinked by the fact that the author actually hires a ghostwriter to write. In such cases, the clarity of copyright subsistence is questionable, and of course bought off by the power of money.

Ghostwriter – copyright issue!:
The question further escalates to the “patent agent – ghostwriter issue”.

For all practical purposes, a patent agent dealing with original drafting of patent applications serves as a Ghostwriter for his / her client. Every patent application, inherently, subsists with a copyright, which is the client’s copyright. In the instance, then that a patent agent borrows, voluntarily or involuntarily, one of his or her own drafts, or portions thereof, to outline a same trail of thoughts in two different drafts of two different client, the subsequence of copyright overlapping are far more implicative!

Ghostwriter – copyright issue Remedy:
The only remedy in such cases is due-diligence on part of the agent and proactiveness on part of the client, to steer away from already written matter or already published matter. A client should justify his proactiveness by providing a write-up so that the seed of the thought process remains true to the client. Active indulgence between the client and the agent is also a way to warrant such remedies.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Intellectual Property Rights in the IT Sector – A bane or a boon

Paper submitted and presented at:

The Nani Palkhivala Arbitration Centre in collaboration with NASSCOM presents a Seminar on "The Indian IT/ITeS Industry Legal and Regulatory challenges in the decade ahead"

Intellectual Property Rights in the IT Sector – A bane or a boon?

Software Patent

Friday, April 9, 2010

One Gargantuan Step after Another

The shackles (of bureaucracy?) have begun to rust and give way with the cutting edge sword, within the precincts of the Intellectual Property Rights Office, i.e. the Patent and Trademark Office’s physical and virtual presence, borne by the Controller General of Trade Marks, Patents, and Designs i.e. Mr. A. Kurian. Dusts off the files have been swept away, and the confidentiality that ought to be kept and the speediness that ought to have been sought, has been implemented in one gargantuan step after another.

Rapid developments swept Patent Examiners and the Administrative Staff at the Patent Office, particularly, at Mumbai, by Mr. Kurian’s physical presence and random checks on the ‘deals’ at the Patent Office. The steps that inducted this new wind of change were as follows:

1) No persons, other than the Registered Patent Agents, are allowed to enter the restricted premises of the Patent Office building. Even a Registered Patent agent shall be present only if his presence is summoned by virtue of an official call or hearing by an Examiner or an Assistant Controller or Controller or the like authorities.
2) Examiners, Assistant Controller, Controllers shall not mingle with the Agents and Applicants / Inventors. Their absence from the building, even during lunch hours, will be strictly monitored.
3) The Controller General has issued a public notice to all applicants/patent agents to inform the patent office about the non receipt of First examination reports in respect of RQs (Request for Examination) filed prior to 31-12-2006
4) Public Notice regarding Geographical Indications Journal
5) Application Status Search has been launched by Controller General of Patents Designs and Trademarks for Indian Patent Applications under IPIRS in the Public Search Gateway (MUST EXPLORE)
6) The controller General has issued public notice to the patentee and licencees to furnish the information in the prescribed form regarding working of patent under section 146 of the Patents Act 1970, by 31st March 2010
7) Regarding inspection, increased transparency has been sought, by providing amended copies, which were earlier declined to be given
8) All patent applications have been distributed for examination into four groups:
i) Chemistry and Allied Sciences
ii) Biotechnology and Microbiology
iii) Mechanical and Allied Subjects
iv) Electrical, Electronic and Allied Subjects
9) According to another order, every patent application will be strictly classified according to the International Patent Classification (IPC), and the screening will be according to the Technical Fields of the IPC.
10) Balancing of officers was carried out in respect of several officers, by way of transfers.

What has been a campaign of sorts in order to emulate the transparency procedures of many nations which handle a great deal of filings, and the efforts to weed out the discrepancies are now being tackled. These and such rapid developments over the last year, have not only brought a sigh of relief amongst the patent practitioners, but also the cross-hairs of such deeds will targeted to benefit an Applicant and Inventor so that they trust the system.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Introductory Session: Patent Application & Filing

A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a state to an inventor or his assignee for a fixed period of time in exchange for a disclosure of an invention.

Patent application procedures are universally governed by the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement. The Agreement on TRIPS is an international agreement administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO) that sets down minimum standards for many forms of intellectual property (IP) regulation. Although different countries have different internal policies for innovation and Intellectual Property (IP) protection, the common minimum derivatives from the TRIPS agreement need to be adhered to.

According to a first tier of applications, an inventor may file for protection in his own country. This is the simplest of the procedures, wherein the following steps detail the application and grant process, for any of the countries:

1) An inventor, typically with the help of the country’s Registered Patent Agent, drafts a patent application (including the details of the subject matter, in a techno-legal framework) to define the ‘novelty’, the ‘non-obviousness’, ‘inventive step’ and the ‘industrial use’ (which are the cornerstones of determining an invention) of the invention.

2) The patent application is submitted to the country’s patent office. The date of submission of the patent application is the ‘priority date’ which is the timestamp for protection of the patent, from that point onwards.

3) The patent application is published in a national patent journal, periodically published by the respective country’s patent office. This is done for brief description of the subject matter of the application. At this point, any ‘person interested’ upon payment of a fee, may obtain a copy of the patent, for reading and/or opposition purposes.

4) The patent office then begins it review procedure, and issues what is called a ‘First Examination Report’, wherein, it cites closely relevant documents to the patent application, and asks the inventor to differentiate the patent application from these ‘citations’ on the basis of ‘novelty’, ‘obviousness’, and ‘inventive step’. Also, further incongruities may be pointed out and suggested remedial actions.

5) The patent application is then put forth for grant, and deemed a ‘PATENT’.

According to a second tier of applications, an inventor may want to file an application in one or many foreign countries too. For this:

1) The patent application is drafted. And a PCT application is filed along with a national application. A PCT application stands for an application in confirmation with the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), of which 142 countries are currently signatory.

2) The PCT application is a 2-step procedure, wherein, the first step of application provides a blanket cover and a chance of entry into the 142 member countries. Further, it provides a 30 / 31 month time-period for deciding upon which of the 142 countries to enter for protection (patent).

3) The second stage is to individually follow up with applications in each country, with the help of each country’s registered patent agents, adhering to translation norms in respect of the identified countries and the like filing requirements.

4) Further processes are the similar as mentioned above in each of the countries.

For a US company to apply for patent protection in China, South Korea, or India, the PCT application is a good practice. Also, an alternative way is in accordance with the Paris Convention, any inventor need not invoke the provisions of the PCT application, and directly apply for application in the foreign state. The PCT application is good in cases wherein, the number of countries is huge, or when the inventor wants to avail of the 30 / 31 month time period.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How will medical software improve the future?

Medicine, health care, and the entire gamut relating to the art of curing illnesses and diseases abetted firstly by appropriate diagnosis, and followed by an appropriate treatment regimen, embeds its roots from Vedic knowledge in the field of providing natural medication and has progressed on to part-specific specialists and surgeons, in this day and age.

The single most use of advancements in medical software, banks on the premise of allowing a global repository of records, to track the entire genesis and history relating to an individual, from birth to death, even if treated by various medical practitioners, hospitals or the like. This channel of a customized management system with an authorized data entry system would provide a unilateral approach and a common substrate for all practitioners to work upon.

Various strata of development, in line with a seamless structure, would include the following:

1) Decoding the Genes:
With DNA foot-printing becoming common place, it is logical to have a global biometric database of a person’s genetic code, along with its characteristic pattern, its logical anomalies, its high points and low points so that a medical practitioner can readily, just by studying / looking at this report, formulate a treatment pattern, in accurate accordance, and in a customized format.
This set includes 10845 patents, across the globe.
Result Set for Query: ((gene OR DNA OR genet*) TI) AND ((decod* OR cod*) TI) AND NOT ((database) AB) AND NOT ((gener*) AB)

2) Database building:
The idea is to have a repository on a global platform, and having a sharing platform accessible through the Internet, mobile phones, PDAs, and the like, from a remote location. A virtual warehouse would file and store all medical history, chronologically. Typically, this could start from the first vaccines taken to ailments suffered to diagnosis methodology to tests performed along with report to treatments taken. Thus, the nature and cause of the ailment specifically in relation to a patient is visually available from any location. Hampering / mismanagement of patient health, may thus reduce, since it would be difficult for a medical practitioner to hide his / her competency, as all such treatment would need to be uploaded on the Internet.
This set includes 1490 patents, across the globe.
Result Set for Query: ((gene OR DNA OR genet*) AB) AND ((database) AB)

3) Remote Diagnosis and Treatment:
With the entire story available from the Internet, any medical practitioner is qualified to diagnose and treat a patient remotely. The only hindrance would be the lack of active monitoring.
This set includes 21496 patents, across the globe.
Result Set for Query: ((remote OR telemetry OR distan*) AB) AND ((diagnosis OR treatment OR medical OR therap*) AB)

4) Evolution of Pattern:
From records of online databases, a pattern analysis may be sought to study individual / mass population.
This set includes 95 patents, across the globe.
Result Set for Query: ((medical OR health OR healthcare) AB) AND ((database OR repository) AB) AND ((pattern) AB)

5) Automated Global monitoring:
The repository may thus be available to any person from any node throughout the world.
This set includes 632 patents, across the globe.
Result Set for Query: ((medical OR health OR healthcare) AB) AND ((global OR distan*) AB) AND ((monitor*) AB)

On an undefined trajectory, if a curve fitting algorithm were to be engaged to fit the past trend, the current trends, and the future trend, at the extreme extrapolated juncture tending to not as far as infinity, we may see ourselves at the origin, again. Thus, the circular life cycle which began at the point of providing natural health care via herbal medicines progressed on to synthetic drug care and is now again poised to reach the natural medication phase; only this time embellished with the armour of medical software for effective tracking, accurate diagnosis, and continuous monitoring.

Also, health care and its future cannot be compartmentalized. Its fluidity with respect to borrowing support from advancements in the electronic and technical domain, as well as in the understanding of the micro-structures of human anatomy, and its interdependence, is a ubiquotous subject matter of research in today’s day and age.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Act defined; Act on it

Seeds of innovation abound in plenty in the technological domain of study, typically in science and engineering institutes throughout India. What is the sad point, however, is the lackadaisical jacket worn by the ruling authorities when it comes to fertilising these seeds for fruitful endeavours. Lakhs of students graduate from the engineering/scientific/technical field in India, and each student, along with peers, must submit a research project, as a part of the curriculum in each university. What then goes to waste in this mechanism is the plausible tapping of potential, beginning at the grassroots level, thus nipping the bud of innovation in its infancy. Students lose; nonetheless the university loses a revenue generating mechanism, and also loses a launching platform to thrust its inmates, into an entrepreneurial venture; one that is intellect-driven and independent, one that paves the pathway for an innovation-driven India.

One of the major plagues that has perpetrated the working technical/science graduate is his large dependence on the western world, which is the source. Thus, what we actually propagate and generate is only a second/third line of work, specifically relating to execution and testing.

There is a need for an ideation germination program.

Also, the balance between revenues spent on filing patents and revenue generated from licensing such patents is arbitrary. A rational, warranted nexus between the two needs to be sought.

Where’s the Ideation?
To seek this phenomenon, is the aim of the INDIAN Bayh-Dole (Act) generic, then! Factually called the ‘Uilisation of Public Funded Intellectual Property Bill 2008’, this bill is under consideration by the Parliament.

The Origin(al):
Spearheading Government-funded research and defining the ownership boundaries of such research, the US Bayh-Dole Act was implemented in 1980. The Federal Government, sitting atop a dossier of 30000 patents, then, chose to create a revenue mechanism with efficient kickbacks to inventors and institutes.

India attempts to follow this pattern and walk the path, now.

Grim Reality:
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is an autonomous Government body under the Ministry of Science & Technology. One of the largest public funded Research & Development Organizations, CSIR , is comprised of 38 constituent laboratories in various sectors ranging from aviation, leather, chemical, life sciences, healthcare, engineering, to physical sciences.

CSIR is India’s largest patent holder organization. With 4000 patent/patent applications; both Indian and foreign, the engines of research are churned by 4600 scientists and the output of 300 contract R&D licensing agreements is proof of its worth.

CSIR filing data as under:
2004-2005: 50 patents
Royalties and licensing revenue: Rs. 4 crores.
Filing new and maintaining costs: Rs. 10 crores
2007-2008: 98 patents

This mismatch between filing costs and (lack of) subsequent revenues is alarming considering the public funds going to waste.

Council of Scientific and Industrial Research owns a dossier of 3016 patents (1,770 foreign, and 1,246 Indian patents). But its commercialization aspects are vagrant because of the following grounds:
1) By virtue of an inefficient recognizing body which could fail to forecast potentially viable (monetarily speaking) patentable subject matter, thus rendering ineffective the knowledge for steering the research in an appropriate revenue generating model;
2) By virtue of lack of accountability of fund utilization with respect to revenue generation.

Just as another sad point, it is quoted that out of 400 research works patented at Delhi’s CSIR, only 34 reached the public.

CSIR initiates a sustainable yet slow diffusion of innovation into commercial space, marred only by a defunct money management scheme.

Unquestioningly, CSIR has quality and need-based research. However, its smartness falters due to the lack of an ‘intellectual’ IP Management Program; one where the fund routing is not accounted for merely because the kickback from such endeavours is not exploited seriously. With increasing bureaucratic reason, CSIR’s success road has many bumps and potholes.

A paradigm shift, according to Mr. Kapil Sibal, is being sought to maximize CSIR’s IP profitability. And articles 1 & 2 reveal this cause. Again, the first part of this publication (CSIR leads in patent filings from a developing nation. What does this mean for India?), truly reveals the heavy-duty sleeve of CSIR’s patent filing activity. Another promising status report (dated 2004) can be read here. According to this report, CSIR’s dream, could well be in the offing, albeit with an undefined timeframe.

Licensing revenue of previously identified valuable and secured IP rights in conjunction with reduced redundant protection (i.e. raking out plausibly non-money-worthy patent applications altogether), if handled smartly, could be the single largest grabber of revenue, based upon which CSIR’s research could be self-dependant.

Another Government watered seed, IISc, counts itself amongst the breed of slow and steady, akin to the rabbit and hare story. The second part of this publication (IISc: Slow and steady) shows the potential that IISc holds and develops, but also gestures at the 6-year time lag between where CSIR is at this moment (of course, overlooking the proper monetizing aspect, but merely focusing on the patenting activity) with respect to IISc’s nascency, and the bridging gap between the amount of throughput in terms of research and the steps taken to protecting the same.

Also, IIT Kharagpur; a premier academic and research institute has formulated its own IPR policy which allows mutual sharing of revenues between the institute and inventor in an equal ratio. Upping its research funds (2007-1008) from Rs. 126.34 crores to Rs. 300 crores (2009-2010), the reliability of government, private, and international funding agencies/enterprises upon this institute is visible.

GRAPH – Patent filing data vs. licensing data

Showcases a healthy revenue generating mechanism and the value of the IPR docket. Amplification of public money can hence be justified in its further outlook. IIT K is enroute to stress on patent pooling, identifying clear research experiments among public funded research entities to enable upstream research, introducing audit committees for monitoring technology transfers, giving an inventor the freedom for commercializing an invention, and assuming a non-exclusive licensing approach.

Open Science:
Debaters and contesters of open science flinch at the concept of patents for summoning monopolistic rights. Paper publication; a culture formed and vigorously pursued by professors worldwide defeats the ownership right. While it provides mere acknowledgement, the right to ‘own’ and ‘deal’ with the inventive concept is lost, if proper protection by means of patent filing is not sought. This directly translates into novelty loss as there is no control over infringers and/or copiers. Even, in cases, where open science is the paradigm sought, to own and then disseminate should be an ideal motto.

Put together an IPMD focusing on the following issues:
1) Studying industry trend, demand, and supply;
2) Channeling the course of research onto the trends of industry demands and supply;
3) Managing the percentage of patent filing in an intelligent manner, deciding upon preferring industrial patent applications to academic/theoretical patent applications, thus downsizing frivolous patenting;
4) Duly deciding the revenue sharing model vis-à-vis, the funding agency, the research department, the institute, and the inventors; and
5) Analysing foreign markets for protecting patent rights.

Current Groundwork:
As a mechanism to blur the tripartite seam between research bodies (the engine), corporate/industries (the driver) and the Government/funding bodies (the fuel), the bill should do more good than harm, especially if the nitty-gritty of timelines, evidence of disclosure, boundaries of work-sharing are worked out.

As may be observed, the pillars of every Act are tested when precedence in the form of judgements are sought. In view of patents, the Patent Act, in India has begun to establish its cornerstones as various cases are simultaneously being heard and concurred upon at the courts, the Appellate Board, and at the Patent Offices; which, in turn, provide increasing awareness.

Another interesting read in the questionable department with respect to the implementing a copycat version of the US Bahy-Dole Act in a developing nation such as India, can be found here.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Pacific Council on International Policy, a non-partisan organisation based in Los Angeles, have joined hands to draft the legislation for the Act, and to present it. It is supposed to be borrowing heavily from America’s COMPETE Act.

Incorporating science into policy is the need of the hour.

Some sections, straight out from the bill, are:
Funding of Agreement: Section 3
3 (1) Any recipient interested to take a grant from the Government for the purpose of research and development shall enter into an agreement with the Government before receipt of such grant.
(2) The agreement entered into under sub-section (1) shall be in such form and manner as may be prescribed.
(3) The recipient of the grant shall.-
(a) make disclosure of public funded intellectual property to the Government within the time specified under section 4;
(b) perform the duties under section 7:
(c) constitute an intellectual property management committee in the manner specified under section 10;
(d) abide by such other conditions as may be prescribed
(4) The Government shall not release any grant to any recipient until an agreement under sub-section (l) is entered into.

Disclosure of public funded Intellectual Property: Section 4
4 The recipient shall within a period of sixty days of actual knowledge of the public funded intellectual property make a disclosure thereof to the Government in such form and manner as may be prescribed.

Sharing of Royalites or Income: Section 11
11. (1) The income or royalties arising out of the public funded intellectual property shall be shared as under:
(a) subject to the provisions of any agreement which may be entered into between the Intellectual Property Creator and the recipient, not less than thirty per cent, of such income or royalties after deducting the expenses incurred in protection and utilization shall be given to the creator of intellectual property
Provided that where such agreement has a provision for a lesser amount than thirty per cent of the net income, the provisions of this section shall prevail;
(b) out of the remainder, thirty per cent shall be paid into the fund created by the intellectual property management committee;
(c) rest of the income or royalty shall be retained by the recipient for its utilization in any further research and to meet other expenses for the protection and maintenance of public funded intellectual property.

This paper highlights some key aspects.

Although, the bill allows for transferring of rights, partially, from the research institute to the inventors, it remains largely unclear as to how the public stands to gain. Working on the premise that with additional monetory recognition at stake, a researcher may work on industry-specific projects, by and large, we stand to lose out on two counts:
1) Does pure academia or pure theoretical research get a slash?
2) Would researchers ‘push’ to get patent rights anyway, in light of the possibility of direct commercial gain? What is the evaluator mechanism in place to ensure the ‘picking processes’ for patenting?
An interesting read can be found here.

Questionable aspects of suitable mentoring, rightly channeled and swift funding, support and development of infrastructure may still continue to loiter the lobbies of innovation, and mar its growth. The path upward from this juncture, by the mechanism of the Act, should be aimed towards the process of identifying virtuous patents, monitoring their disclosure, protecting it appropriately, and end at appropriately distributing the commercialized venture profits in a just manner.