Fostering Innovation and Development
Edited by Christopher Arup and William van Caenegem
Chapter 5: The Jewel in the Crown: India’s Patent Office and Patent-based Innovation
Peter Drahos At the beginning of the 21st century Brazil, China and India are generally talked about as high growth economies, with China and India in particular set on a path that might potentially see them individually chug past the US economy in terms of size (see for example, Goldman Sachs 2003). Whatever the future holds these three countries are presently major economic powers using measures such as total GDP (see for example, World Bank 2006). All three countries have a patent law and have begun investing heavily in the creation of a large modern patent office. In this way they are following a historical pattern that held true for European powers of the late 19th century and early 20th century in which the modernization of their respective patent offices followed well after their enactment of patent law (Drahos 2007a). Of the three countries China is the most advanced down this path. Its patent office is an International Searching Authority (ISA) for the purposes of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The patent offices of India and Brazil have only just been admitted to ISA status (PCT Committee for Technical Cooperation 2007). This chapter traces the evolution of the Indian Patent Office (PO) from its colonial origins to its modernization following India’s membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and therefore its obligations to comply with the Agreement on the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). The central argument of the chapter is that the modernization of India’s PO represents...
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