The recent passing of the Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2023, has heralded significant changes within the patent landscape in India. With its approval in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, the spotlight is now on its implications for the Indian patent regime. Let’s delve into the main takeaways.
Raising the Stakes on Misrepresentation: Section 120
Historically, misrepresentation of patent rights fetched a fine of up to one lakh rupees. The new amendment elevates the penalty to a potential ten lakh rupees, with an added daily fine for continuous misrepresentation. This hike signals the seriousness with which the state views such deceptive practices.
Section 121: “Patent Office” – No Longer a Protected Phrase
A remarkable shift is the prospective removal of penalties for the wrongful use of the term “patent office”. This could herald more open, flexible branding and representation, but also demands caution from businesses and entrepreneurs.
The Statement of Working: A Fresh Approach
Form-27, a critical piece in the patent puzzle, has seen two main changes:
Refusal to Share Information:
Initially, the law remained ambiguous about penalties for not sharing mandated information. The amendment brings clarity – a fine of up to one lakh rupees, with daily fines for continuous refusal.
While earlier provisions had imprisonment as a possible consequence for supplying false information, the amendment leans towards a steeper monetary penalty, emphasizing the dire consequences of misinformation.
The decriminalization associated with Form 27 working statements is indicative of a shift towards an environment that favors transparency and encourages filings. It aligns India with global patent practices, fostering a more innovation-friendly ecosystem.
A New Power Center: Section 124 A
The Bill empowers the Controller with adjudicative capacities. The Controller can now impose penalties for defaults under the act, subject to providing the defaulting party an opportunity to present their case. Persistent non-compliance can, however, still lead to imprisonment or substantial fines. This alteration underscores the need for adherence to compliance mandates.
This table provides a quick glance at the changes introduced by the Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2023, streamlining the Indian patent system.
|S. No.||Section||Previously||After Amendment|
|1.||Section 120 (Unauthorised claim of patent rights)||Punishable with a fine up to one lakh rupees.||Penalty up to ten lakh rupees, with a daily penalty of one thousand rupees for continuous misrepresentation.|
|2.||Section 121 (Wrongful use of words “patent office”)||Punishable with imprisonment up to six months, or with fine, or both.||Potential removal of penalties; making it permissible to use the term “patent office” without criminal consequences.|
|3.||Section 122 (1) (Refusal or failure to supply information)||Ambiguous about penalties.||Clear penalty up to one lakh rupees, with a daily penalty of one thousand rupees for continuous refusal.|
|4.||Section 122 (2) (Supplying false information)||Punishable with imprisonment up to six months, or with fine, or both.||Monetary penalty not less than twenty-five lakh rupees. Shift from imprisonment to steeper fines.|
|5.||Insertion of Section 124 A (New powers to Controller)||Not Present||Controller can impose penalties for defaults under the act. For non-compliance: up to one year of imprisonment, or fines from twenty-five thousand rupees up to five lakh rupees, or both.|
The Jan Vishwas Amendment Bill is emblematic of India’s intent to cultivate an innovative and compliant patent environment. By emphasizing substantial monetary penalties over imprisonment, the system is leaning more towards fostering innovation while ensuring accountability.
With these amendments, India steps closer to creating a patent system that is not only punitive when necessary but also collaborative and supportive of innovators.