A powerful tool

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Writ petitions have radically influenced the administration of intellectual property rights in India, writes Pravin Anand

India’s Supreme Court and its various high courts are constitutionally empowered to judicially review executive actions through their special writ jurisdictions. The writ jurisdictions enable these courts to ensure that the rule of law permeates all state actions. This is a powerful tool which not only allows the courts to correct grave errors in the administration of laws, but also enables stakeholders to bring about necessary systemic reforms. The writ courts in India have had an inordinate influence on the administration of intellectual property (IP) laws in India through a series of cases.

Pravin Anand
Pravin Anand

In Cipla v Union of India in 2012, the Supreme Court read the principles of natural justice into the provisions of the Patents Act, 1970. The court found that although the act did not require the opposition board to provide its recommendations to the patentee before deciding a post-grant opposition, the principles of natural justice would mandate that this be done. As the patent in question had been removed from the register of patents, the Supreme Court’s decision resulted in the reinstatement of the patent within a record time of two months.

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Pravin Anand is the managing partner of Anand and Anand, an intellectual property boutique in New Delhi. He can be reached at pravin@anandandanand.com. D Neha Reddy, an associate in the firm’s litigation team, co-authored this piece. She can be reached at neha.r@anandandanand.com