NO PLACE FOR WEAK PATENT INFRINGEMENT ALLEGATIONS: IPAB
The Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) revoked three patents last month, one belonging to Ram Kumar and two belonging to Bharat Bhogilal Patel. Ram Kumar was granted the Patent for the Dual-SIM phones which enabled simultaneous communication on both the SIM cards while Bharat Bhogilal Patel was granted two Patents namely, Laser marking and Engraving Machine and marking, etching & engraving by using laser beam on metals and non-metals. The board in these decisions have termed the patentees as “Patent Trolls”, in the sense “who seek to exploit the weakness in the legal system to enforce weak Patents” and not in derogatory sense of “non-practicing entities”. Both these patentees had filed complaints at various ports requesting customs department to seize the import consignments on the ground that it infringed their Patents.
In the year 2009, consignments of Dual-SIM mobile phones belonging to famous importers in the Mobile Phone industry such as Samsung, Spice, Micromax etc. were seized on the ground that they infringed the patent rights of Ram Kumar. While some decided to pay royalties demanded by Ram Kumar, the others decided to pursue the litigation processes. On the other hand, while Bharat Bhogilal Patel, tried to repeat the Ram Kumar Saga he was not that lucky. He however, succeeded in subjecting the Chairperson of Raymond Industries into criminal prosecution. Later on, Samsung and Spice, Aditi Manufacturing Co. filed cases against Ram Kumar and Bharat Bhogilal Patel respectively. The IPAB passed decisions in favour of the appellant and revoked the patents of the respondents.
Reasons for revoking Ram Kumar’s and Bhogilal’s Patent:
1. “Lack of Novelty” – Both Patentees lacked any kind of novelty and were just anticipated Patents of prior art.
2. “Lack Of Inventive Step” – Patent’s lacked any technological advancement as compared to the existing knowledge.
To conclude, IBAP through these decisions have established the need for more efficient and stringent laws with regard to weak patent infringement suits.
Contributed by: Srividya