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Intellectual Property experts to help India revamp laws

By Aziz Haniffa in Washington
Last updated on: February 01, 2006 22:36 IST
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A who's who of the intellectual property rights world, including science professors, patent lawyers, judges and corporate intellectual property experts, will visit New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Bhopal this week to discuss issues relating to intellectual property rights, and to help India enact appropriate legislation in this regard.

The 61-member delegation will spend two weeks in India in a trip that is under the aegis of the George Washington University's Law School.

The delegation, led by Judge Randall R Rader of the Court of Appeals of the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC, which handles all patent law appeals in the US, will also include former and current judges from the United Kingdom, Germany and Israel.

Judicial members of the delegation include Judge Barbara Rothstein, director of the Federal Judicial Center; Professor Ananda Chakrabarty of the University of Illinois; Professor Frederick Lawrence, Dean, George Washington University Law School; Professor Martin J Adelman, Director of GWU Law School's India Project; Judge Ronald Whyte of the Northern District of California; Judge Peter Meier-Beck of the German Supreme Court; Sir High Laddie, former Chief Patent Judge of the UK; Judge Michael Fysh of the UK; and Israeli Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner.

Corporate counsels in the delegation include Jack Haken, vice president of intellectual property of Philips; Louis Willie, VP of IP at Bristol Myers Squibb; Marshall Phelps, VP of IP of Microsoft; George Heibel, Ranbaxy's senior patent counsel; Pryor Garnet, assistant general counsel, IBM; David Simon, chief patent counsel, Intel; David McMaster, Angiotech Pharmaceuticals; Vincent A Castiglione, corporate IP counsel, Acusphere, Inc; Q. Todd Dickinson, VP of IP at General Electric; and Lawrence Welch, assistant general patent counsel at Eli Lilly.

The composition of the panel clearly indicates that the major concern areas are technology and pharmaceuticals.

Besides participating in several panel discussions put together by the Confederation of Indian Industry, the US-India Business Council and the US-India Business Council, the judges and members of the delegation will also participate in Moot Courts in the various cities in conjunction with leading Indian law colleges and universities to offer a practical insight into intellectual property litigation.

In Hyderabad, they will be featured in an international seminar on IP Litigation, which features panels ranging from experiences from IP litigation in India to strengthening IP protection through litigation, Landmark judgments in the US, Europe and India, et cetera.

Raj S Dave, manager of GWU Law School's India Project and a partner in the Washington, DC law firm of Morrison & Foerster, told India Abroad that "the objectives of the India Project are two-fold: first, to create awareness of intellectual property in India and second, to create judicial internations.

"To meet these objectives, the India Project has taken two delegations to India in 2004 and 2005, but this is going to be the largest delegation yet with leading judges, academics like Professor Chakrabarty, the protagonist behind the US Supreme Court case of `Diamond vs Chakrabarty', who argued that all life forms are patentable in the US and someone who has contributed so much to US patent law, and several corporate counsels who are heads of the intellectual property divisions of leading IT and pharmaceutical firms."

Dave said the first delegation comprised only six people and the second delegation had 33 delegates, but "this time around there are 61 delegates, comprising eight judges from the US, UK, Germany and Israel and many vice presidents and heads of intellectual property of major multinational corporations, who have been doing business in India for several decades."

"During our visit in 2005, the delegation had the opportunity to meet with Mr Buddadev Bhattacharya, the Communist Party Chief Minister of West Bengal, and convince him of the importance of intellectual property for India and West Bengal and how if the IP laws were enacted it would attract so much foreign direct investment into India and his state.

"We believe," says Dave, "that the awareness created by the India Project delegations has helped Indians and the Indian media to understand the importance of intellectual property for India and realize that India's biggest asset is brainpower, which is nothing but IP."

Dave, an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, said, "The passage of the Indian Patent Law Amendment did not meet as many impediments as was expected and could be enacted, much to the delight of US and other foreign companies, was because of the awareness create by the India Project delegation over the past two years."

An off shoot of the India Project, he said, was a joint collaboration between George Washington University Law School and IIT, Kharagpur, to start a new law school at IIT, Kharagpur in IP

called the Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law with a $1 million donation from Vinod Gupta, an alumnus of IIT, Kharagpur.

Edelman, director of the India Project, said that "one of the goals of the India Project -the objective of which was to create interactions between leading US, European, Asian and Indian academics, industry leaders, lawyers, judges and policymakers in the field of intellectual property - was to work closely and cooperatively with Indian judges to ensure not just enaction but enforcement of patent laws. Because it's all fine to have good laws but the important thing is to enforce them."

He said it was now imperative for India to develop its administrative and judicial systems to properly enforce and adjudicate laws such as the Patent Bill, and this was what the India Project hoped to assist India accomplish.

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