Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series
Edited by Jacques de Werra
Chapter 17: Intellectual property licensing in India
The liberalization of the Indian economy began in 1991. Before that foreign technology transfer agreements were heavily regulated by the Indian Government in terms which favored the Indian licensee. These terms were spelt out by the industrial policy prevalent at the time. At one point the foreign technology collaborator was expected to allow the licensee to use the patented technology until the term of the patent ran out, even though the license itself had expired. Another term required that the Indian collaborator be allowed to sub-license the license technology. Until very recently, the royalty payable and the term for which that royalty was payable was regulated and limited. Although there is little case law concerning the licensing disputes of these technology transfer agreements, there are some cases concerning disputes on other issues in which the text of the judgments record some of the salient terms of the foreign collaboration agreements.1 In the various areas of IP law, in India, it is the Copyright Act, 1957 (the “Copyright Act”) which provides the most guidance on various aspects of licensing. The 1957 Act specifies the conditions for validity and the default rules on term, territory and reversion. Certain amendments to the Indian copyright law that have come into effect since 21 June, 2012 seek to further regulate the freedom of contract in certain situations, providing additional guidance on first ownership of copyright works incorporated in films and guidelines on the minimum remuneration due to authors of original works. This chapter aims to identify key areas of IP licensing
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