KAMAL NATH CONSULTS POLITICAL PARTIES ON PATENTS AMENDMENT
Date : 20 Oct 2004
Location : New Delhi
Shri Kamal Nath, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has initiated consulations with political parties on the Patents (Third Amendment ) Bill and as part of this consultative process, he held discussions here today with Shri Arun Jaitley of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Shri Yerran Naidu of Telegu Desam, Shri Sukhdev Singh Dhinds of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Shri Ajit Kumar Singh of Janata Dal (United) and Shri W. Wangyuh of Nagaland Peoples Front. Shri Kamal Nath had earlier interacted with the left parties, including Shri Basudeb Acharya of CPI (M) and Shri Joachin Baxla of the Forward Bloc, on the subject. The Minister indicated in response to suggestions by political parties that the Bill would be introduced in the beginning of the winter session of Parliament and assured that the proposed third amendment would fully take into account the public interest including public health concerns, making full use of the flexibilities available in this regard in the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). There was a general consensus among participants on the need to meet the international commitment of adhering to the deadline of 1 January 2005 for introduction of product patents through legislation, while ensuring that mechanisms are put in place to safeguard public access to medicines at affordable prices.
Shri Kamal Nath said that given the importance of the issues, he was keen to have broad-based and extensive interactions with political parties as well as different interest groups on critical aspects of the required changes to the Indian Patents Act, 1970.
In pursuance of the TRIPS Agreement negotiated during the Uruguay Round, the Patents Act, 1970 was first amended in March 1999 to introduce the transitional (mailbox) facility from 1/1/1995 to receive and hold product patent applications in the fields of pharmaceuticals and agriculture chemicals till January 1, 2005. The second amendment to the Act was made in June 2002 to meet obligations under the TRIPS Agreement relating to modifications in the provisions concerning term of patent protection, rights of the patentee, compulsory licensing etc. The third amendment required to meet obligations under the TRIPS Agreement that are due from 1st January 2005 relate mainly to introduction of product patent protection in all fields of technology.