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An Opposition too Far?

Issued: January 11 2017

 How far have we come regarding pre-grant oppositions in India, asked asked Shukadev Khuraijam, a partner with Remfry and Sagar in India. The way things are now, they can add a lot of time to a parent application, and have no set deadlines. They were meant to be an aid to examiners, but are they now delaying patents?


“I’m strongly against pre-grant opposition” said Jurgen Dressel, head of global litigation strategies at Novartis Pharma IP. “I can see how the examiners may not know everything, but it reduces the life of a patent for the patent holder”, he added. “Post grant opposition should be sufficient” he said.


“Pre-grant opposition in India is a mess” agreed Sandeep Rathod, assistant general counsel and head of litigation for Mylan Laboritories. “But do I want to get rid of pre-grant oppositions entirely? No” he stated. Applicants have never had it good, but the patent office can clean up the system to make both sides happy, he said.


Building on that point, Khuaijam asked if limiting pre-grant oppositions to, for example, 18 months, would be an effective change.


“One of the problems is that the Indian Patent Office doesn’t want to do opposition hearings”, said Rathod, while supporting a time limit. “We would certainly listen to reasonable suggestions”, concluded Dr. Suman Shrey Singh, deputy controller of patents at the Indian Patent Office.


Khuraijam, Dressel, Rathod and Singh were speaking at Refry & Sagars IP Seminar in Gurgaon, India.


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