On the 23rd of November 1998, the Cabinet of the Government of India has cleared the Patents Bill which would establish a formal facility for accepting Exclusive Marketing Rights (EMR's) applications in line with India's commitments under the WTO.
The said Patent Bill is likely to be introduced in the winter session of the Parliament, which starts on the 30th of November 1998, and in effect would be a legislation for allowing EMR's and mailbox facility for accepting EMR applications.
Thus while the Government has for the time being, expressed its preference for the EMR route rather than the route of granting product patents, it has at the same time expressed its intention to simultaneously explore the introduction of product patents at the earliest opportunity, perhaps as early as in the budget session of the Parliament, early next year.
This is a very positive move of the Government which would meet the international obligations under Article 70 (8) and 70 (9) of the TRIPS agreement and would pave the path for a stronger patent regime in India.
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