Can a utility model system specially designed to promote
innovation constitute a viable alternative to the patent system? A
discussion paper by the department of industrial policy and
promotion (DIPP) puts forth this question in the backdrop of its
view that there is a need to recognize and support the widest
possible spectrum of innovative activity while being committed to
resist dilution of patent standards.
Utility models, also known as lesser forms of patent protection,
co-exist with the patent system in most countries under different
names and varying features, however there are common elements such
as their short term of protection and the relatively easy access of
these systems vis-ŕ-vis patent protection.
Therefore, it can be safely said that a utility model provides a
framework for limited protection to innovations, which may not meet
the standards of the Patent Act.
A utility model system's main features may broadly be
categorized under four headings namely (1) protectable subject
matter, (2) conditions for protection, (3) application procedure
and (4) scope of protection. The discussion paper asks relevant
questions on these areas as well as raises pertinent issues on the
legislative route to be adopted for enacting a law on utility
model, the nature of linkages between utility model and the
existing Patent law, whether traditional knowledge can be protected
through a utility model system, what enforcement procedure should
be put in place and what should be the dispute resolution mechanism
as well as how to obviate any concern between public interest and
A preliminary reading of the discussion paper shows an argument
in favour of encouraging minor technical inventions by suitably
protecting them under a legal framework. It further adds that given
these incremental innovations, which use local resources in a
sustainable manner, are primarily driven by small and medium
enterprises sector, such protection would be useful and relevant
only if it were provided through a legal framework which is
simultaneously not demanding, quick, cheap and simple and all these
requirements presumably can be met through a suitably designed
utility model framework.
The discussion paper further goes on making a case for all
developing countries to adopt a utility model framework by
emphasizing its role in encouraging innovation and providing a
cheaper source of protection than patents. The adoption of a
utility model framework for India is argued on the basis that it
will provide incentive for a faster disclosure and generate a pool
of incremental innovations that may trigger new innovations. If
this proposal to examine the viability of introducing Utility
Models into IPR regime fructify then innovations from the rural
hinterland may get exclusivity for their low-end creative
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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This article enunciates the recent, much awaited, and landmark judgment delivered on September 16, 2016 by Hon'ble Delhi High Court throwing light on the important provisions of the Copyright Act, 1962.
The Patents Act 1970, along with the Patents Rules 1972, came into force on 20th April 1972, replacing the Indian Patents and Designs Act 1911. The Patents Act was largely based on the recommendations of the Ayyangar Committee Report headed by Justice N. Rajagopala Ayyangar. One of the recommendations was the allowance of only process patents with regard to inventions relating to drugs, medicines, food and chemicals.
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