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History of Indian Patent System

The first legislation related to Indian Patent was Act VI of 1856. The Act was subsequently repealed by Act IX of 1857 since it had been enacted without the approval of the British Crown. Further in 1859 the provisions of exclusive privileges were introduced. This legislation contained certain modifications of the earlier legislation, namely, grant of exclusive privileges to useful inventions only and extension of priority period from 6 months to 12 months.

In 1872, the Act of 1859 was consolidated to provide protection relating to designs. It was renamed as "The Patterns and Designs Protection Act" under Act XIII of 1872. The Act of 1872 was further amended in 1883 (XVI of 1883) to introduce a provision to protect novelty of the invention, which prior to making application for their protection were disclosed in the Exhibition of India. The Indian Patents and Designs Act, 1911, (Act II of 1911) replaced all the previous Acts. This Act was further amended in 1920 and then amended in1930.

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After Independence, the Indian Patents & Designs Act, 1911 was amended in 1950. In 1957, the Government of India appointed Justice N. Rajagopala Ayyangar Committee to examine the question of revision of the Patent Law and advise government accordingly. After two failed amendments in 1965 and 1967, the patent act was passed in 1970 and most of the provisions of the 1970 Act were brought into force on 20th of April 1972 with publication of the Patent Rules, 1972.

The patent system in india is administered by the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks (CGPDTM). Indian Patent Office is subordinate offices of Indian Government and administered under the Indian Patent Act 1970. The Indian patent offices are situated in Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai. There have been many changes in the Indian Patent Act so far. However, the changes in the Patent Acts and Rules made in 1999, 2002, 2005, 2006) are necessitated by India's obligation under TRIPS agreement. TRIPS refer to the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, allowing product patents in the field of chemical and drugs.

However, Indian Patent Act introduces the section 3 (d) by the amendment of the Patent Acts in 2005 in order to stop ever greening of patents. Another important feature was the introduction of pre-grant representation (opposition) in addition to the existing post-grant opposition mechanism. The pre-grant representation has had success in a short span. One example is the abandonment of a patent application by Novartis on Glivec (Imatinib Mesylate) under section 3(d) of the act and revoking the earlier granted EMR on the same drug used to treat Leukemia.

One of the controversial provisions of these amendments was on software patent-ability, which was later withdrawn in amendment in 2005. The Patent Rules 2003 was amended in 2005 but again amended in 2006. Some of the important features of both the 2005 & 2006 Rules are the introduction of reduced time lines and a fee structure based on specification size and number of claims, in addition to a basic fee.