Friday, April 25, 2008

Intellectual Property and Claims Issues Discussed at Bangalore Bio 2008

One of the important topics discussed in the Bangalore Bio 2008 was IP & claims, moderated by Dr. V. C. Vivekanandan - MHRD IP Chair Professor & Head-Centre for IP Law Studies, Director - NALSAR, Proximate Education and the speakers included, Dr. Robin A. Chadwick, Partner / Shareholder Schwegman, Lundberg & Woessner, USA, Dr. Markus Engelhard, Partner Boehmert & Boehmert, Germany, Mr. Ravi Bhola, Head - Bangalore Operations, K&S Partners Mr. T V Madhusudhan, Assistant Controller of Patents and Design, The Patent Office Ms. Sushila Rao, Manager -IPR Department, Biocon Limited.
There's an increased focus in commercialization of IPRs in the Bio Tech sector. This special session reflected the industry's views and suggested the necessary steps to improve the scenario in India.

The Profiting from IPRs depends on various factors such as end user needs, protected IP, market size and dynamics, commercial feasibility and commercial partners. As the business scenario is dynamically changing, an IP is no more than a white paper when it is not a commercial hit and it is the case with some of the patents. Actually only 10 percent of all the patents granted in the field of biotechnology are block busters in the commercial platform.
This is the summary of the views of the participants in the session titled "Intellectual Property and Claims Issues" at the eighth edition of the Bangalore Bio 2008. The situation for getting patents and protecting them after that in India is totally different from that in the US and Europe, speakers outlined.
Ravi Bhola, Head-Bangalore operations of the IP consultancy firm K&S partners said, India should take urgent steps to capacity building in the field of IPs in general and Biotechnology IPs in particular as IP granting authorities and enforcement agencies are insensitive to the views of the biotech sector. When it comes to getting a patent or seeking protection for a patent, the current processes and challenges are cumbersome and complex, he said.
"There are many challenges when an aggrieved party wants to seek the shelter of courts in India, Bhola said. Lack of specialized courts to deal with IP issues, Lack of proper system of documentation, Insensitivity of judges and police officials towards IP issues and the delay in getting justices are some of them to mention," he added.
Dr Markus Engelhard, Partner, Boehmert & Boehmert, Germany, explained the procedures to obtain a patent collectively for the entire EU or for each member state of EU. Compared to the time and procedures in EU or the US, the Indian procedures are seemingly simple but with many ambiguous definitions and scope for several interpretations.
According to T V Madhusudhan, Assistant Controller of Patents and Design, Patents Office, Chennai, "the applicant may even get the patent grant within 12 months if he provides all the information required by the patents office. Some issues of the act are giving room for debate," he said.
Sushila Rao, Manager - IPR Department, Biocon, said "Indian companies are realizing the need to profit from IPRs. Though the number of patents in the US is less compared that of EU, the market capitalization and profitability of the US companies is very huge because of the size of the market and scale of their operations." According to Sushila Rao the growth potential for Indian biotech companies stands very high, as there is increasing focus in commercializing IPRs.

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