Thursday, 27 June 2019

Benefits of Filing Patent Applications by Universities

An educated population is probably the most important asset of any country, especially of a developing country like India. In the present generation, it is one’s knowledge that differentiates and identifies his/her value, and the education of population that drives the economic development of a country. Universities play a major role in providing such knowledge and advanced skills needed to meet the challenges of sustainable development in the community, in raising public awareness and in providing preconditions for informed decision-making, responsible behaviour and consumer choice.[1] Since universities play a major role in providing education, conducting research for developing technology new innovations and inventions should hold the utmost importance. Intellectual Property (IP) plays a very crucial role when it comes to facilitating the process of taking innovative technology to the marketplace.[2] At the same time, IP also plays a major role in enhancing competitiveness between technology-based enterprises, be it enterprises commercializing new or improved products or enterprises providing services on the basis of a new or improved technology.[3]

Since patents are one of the most commercially profitable category in IP, it is very common sensical to understand that universities and patents benefit each other. Patents not only help universities to improve their ranking, but also help in establishing an innovation ecosystem, incubate knowledge-based start-ups, earn additional revenue and measure research activity. In its biggest push to create entrepreneurial universities in India, the University Grants Commission (UGC) required all universities in India to set up an Intellectual Property (IP) Centre.
Having said that, the essential aspects of patent application filings by universities may be the following:
1.      Unlike industrial scientists and engineers who are generally hired to invent and assign rights in the inventions to their employer without any outstanding rights to additional reimbursement, university personnel are in a different position. The prime focus of universities is to educate and to conduct technical research. However, in case of any invention during the conduct of technical research, universities must not lose an opportunity to file a patent application. This results in the universities in investing more on R&D and helping them in their overall development.

2.      Universities often collaborate with industries for innovating in a specific domain, which in turn gives a lot of exposure to its faculties and students, helping them gain a position in these industries and leading to acknowledgement of the universities. This encourages the entire academic ecosystem to do more research leading to useful inventions, leading the country in becoming the hub of research and development.

3.      University plays a major role in providing resource and guidance to the students for creating the invention. Many technical universities do have in place IP Policies for creations/innovations done by students, as such policies help in encouraging students for creating, developing, investing and commercializing the invention so created. These IP policies by universities are effective and encourage students, as these focuse on:

a.       Ownership of IP created,
b.      Plan of action and tactics to properly commercialize the invention,
c.       Sponsorships from private and other agencies,
d.      Other issues like addressing conflicts, benefit sharing etc.

The Annual Report (2016-17) issued by The Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs, Trademarks and Geographical Indications shows the list of top 10 universities and institutes with the number of patent filings done by these universities: [4]

As per the report of 2015-16, the list appeared as:[5]

And as per the 2014-15 report, the list appeared as:[6]

It is important to note that the number of patents granted by India shot up by 50 per cent in 2017, keeping up a trend of steep increases, according to the UN's World Intellectual Property Organisation.[7], and as per the Performance of Intellectual Property Office 2017-18, shows the overall filing of Patent as:

Recently, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India, signed an Institutional Agreement with Anna University to establish India’s second Technology and Innovation Support Center (TISC) at the Centre for Intellectual Property Rights (CIPR), Anna University, Chennai, under the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) TISC program.[8] The objective of the TISC is to stimulate a dynamic, vibrant and balanced Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) system in India to foster creativity and innovation, thereby promoting entrepreneurship and enhancing social, economic and cultural development by establishing a network of TISCs in India.[9] Presently, India has two Technology and Innovation Support Centers, the first was signed with Punjab State Council of Science and Technology[10] and the other with  Anna University, Chennai. The major services offered by such TISCs are:[11]
o   access to online patent and non-patent (scientific and technical) resources and IP-related publications;
o   assistance in searching and retrieving technology information;
o   training in database search;
o   on-demand searches (novelty, state-of-the-art and infringement);
o   monitoring technology and competitors;
o   basic information on industrial property laws, management and strategy, and technology commercialization and marketing
The TISCs initiative by WIPO, is mainly for the developing countries who have access to local high-quality technology information and related services, and assisting them to exploit their create, protect, manage and exploit their Intellectual Property Rights.[12]
But as universities set up IP centres and create IP policies, it is also essential to understand that they have started facing a strange, but real, human resources problem. The bitter truth is that despite the numerous policy push to have more IP in universities, we simply do not have enough IP professionals in the country. Further, the ambitious goal set by India’s IPR Policy can only be realised only when the examination for qualifying as a Patent Agent becomes the foundation for making a career in IPR. In a dynamic field such as intellectual property, and especially patents, in order to create a band of qualified patent professionals, there should be a push towards post-qualification continuous education as well. To achieve this, the format, membership, syllabus and the frequency of the patent agent examination will need to be addressed seriously. This would not only see an increase in the number and quality of patent professionals in the country, but would also help in students to take up IP as a new career choice, especially for graduates with a degree in science and technology.
Regardless, with more awareness about IP rights, and continuous efforts of universities in creating inventions, it is high time that universities start expediting the filing of patent applications at the Indian Patent Office. Any which ways, irrespective of the protection, the patent applications will definitely give the university and its students the due recognition of developing said idea, which can be further used to develop or monetise the idea later.

[1] Radhe Shyam Sharma, “Role of Universities in Development of Civil Society and Social Transformation”, 17th International Academic Conference, Vienna (2015) (ISBN 978-80-87927-10-6, IISES); available at
[2] Christopher M. Kalanje, “Role of Intellectual Property in Innovation and New Product Development” (WIPO) available at
[3] Id.
[7] Economic Times, “Number of patents granted by India shot up by 50% in 2017: UN”, available at
[8] Press Information Bureau, Government of India - Ministry of Commerce & Industry, India’s Second Technology and Innovation Support Center (TISC) Established at Anna University, Chennai, dated November 08, 2017, available at
[9] Id.
[10] DIPP to set up India first TISC in Punjab, available at
[11] Technology and Innovation Support Centers, WIPO, available at
[12] Id.

Friday, 7 June 2019

Health Trade License

With the improvement in the ease of doing business ranking, India is becoming the increasingly becoming the popular destination for establishment of business opportunities. Numerous domestic and international entrepreneurs are exploring different arenas for setting up of their business. This process requires a lot of investment not only in terms of time, money and experience but also procurement of appropriate permits and licenses which may be at central, state as well as municipal levels.

Health Trade License

A substantial segment of businesspersons are interested in health trading activities such as restaurants, eating houses, hotels, guest houses, tea/ coffee shops, cafes, boarding houses, canteens, theatres, cinemas, circus, auditoriums, theatres, laundry, dry cleaner, saloon, beauty parlour, clubs, dancing hall, spas, gyms, health clubs, petrol pumps cum service stations, general store, provisional store, pastry & confectionary stores, floor mill, sellers of food in the form of fruits/ vegetables/ packed food/ meat/ chicken/ poultry are permitted to carry out such activities after obtaining health trade license from the respective municipal authority.

Information/ Documentation needs

Along with the prescribed information regarding the details of the applicant, address, measurements of the premises, etc. some of the documents required to be submitted along with the filing an application form for health trade license are given below:
·         Permanent Account Number/ Tax Deduction Account Number
·         Proof of payment of property taxes, fines, etc.
·         Proof of ownership
·         Proof of change of land use
·         Copies of latest electricity and water bill
·         No-Objection Certificate from the Fire Services Department
·         Site/ Layout sanction Plan
·         Medical Certificate
·         Self-Declaration

Prior to the expiry of the term of the license issued by the respective municipal authority, the licensee is required to apply for the renewal of the same in order to lawfully continue the activities intended to be undertaken. The documents required for renewal of the health trade license include copy of the previously issued health trade license, self-declaration, etc.

For the purpose of carrying out activities in the health trade sector, the businesspersons are required to obtain health trade license from the respective municipal authorities.

RERA does not bar Homebuyers complaint under Consumer Protection act against builder

The Real Estate sector has seen a significant growth the past years, however it was unregulated. The absence of any regulation created a havoc in the sector as the developers were unable to complete the projects in the stipulated time and provide timely possession to the homebuyers. The aggrieved homebuyer was left with an option to approach the Consumer forum which fell inadequate to address all the concerns of buyers and promoters in that sector. The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016 (hereinafter referred to as “RERA Act”) came into force on May 01, 2016, with the objective to bring relief for homebuyers and developers will have to give timely possession for projects. In the judgement dated April 17, 2019 “Ajay Nagpal Vs. Today Homes & Infrastructure Pvt Ltd[1] the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (hereinafter referred to as “NCDRC”) has held that RERA Act does not bar filing of a complaint under the Consumer Protection Act 1986 against a builder/developer.

The bench headed by Justice R K Agrawal was dealing with a batch of complaints filed by homebuyers for compensation from “Today Homes & Infrastructure Pvt Ltd” for not delivering possession of flats as stipulated in the builder-buyer agreement.

The inference was drawn from the judgement passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in “Aftab Singh v. Emaar MGF Land Limited & Anr in Consumer Case No. 701 of 2015” on December 10, 2018 reiterated the well-established law that valid arbitration agreements do not bar the jurisdiction of National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (“NCDRC”) and other consumer forums.

 In “Aftab Singh v. Emaar MGF Land Limited & Anr in Consumer Case No. 701 of 2015” passed by NCDRC in December 2017., the dispute was between a group of home owners (“Buyers”) and Emaar MGF Land Private Limited (“Builder”), who failed to complete the construction and deliver the villas within the timeline stipulated terms and conditions in the builder buyer agreement between the parties. The Builder filed an application under Section 8 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (provides that a judicial authority shall, on the basis of the arbitration agreement between the parties, direct the parties to go for arbitration) to refer the case for arbitration as the agreement contained a valid arbitration clause. The Buyers, on the other hand, contended that the jurisdiction of consumer forums available to them through the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
The summary of conclusions of the judgment passed by the Hon’ble NCDRC in “Aftab Singh v. Emaar MGF Land Limited & Anr” are as follows:

1.      The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is a supplement Act and not in derogation of any other Act; The Consumer Fora constituted under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 are not Civil Courts. A Consumer cannot pursue two remedies for the same cause of action. However, if a Consumer has not approached for redressal of its grievance under the particular Statute, the Consumer can approach the Consumer Fora under the Consumer Protection Act. But, if the Consumer had already approached the Authority under the relevant Statute, he cannot simultaneously file any complaint under the Consumer Protection Act.

2.      Mere availability of a right to redress the grievance in a particular Statute will not debar the Complainant/Consumer from approaching the Consumer Fora under the Consumer Protection Act. Even though various provisions have been made which are to be followed by the Developer/Promoters and the rights and duties and the return of amount as compensation as also rights and duties of Allottees, yet same cannot mean to limit the right of the allottee only to approach the Authorities constituted under the RERA, he can still approach the Consumer Fora under the Consumer Protection Act. Section 71 of RERA which gives the power to adjudicate, does not expressly or impliedly bar any person from invoking the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act. It has also given a liberty to the person whose Complaint is pending before the Consumer Fora to withdraw it and file before the RERA Authorities.
It was observed that the Arbitration agreement does not bar a consumer complaint as held by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) while referring to the Supreme Court decision in “Emaar MGF Land Ltd. vs. Aftab Singh, Review Petition (C) No’s. 2629-2630 of 2018 in Civil Appeal No’s .23512-23513 of 2017”, the Commission held that the fact that Arbitration can be proceeded under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 is not a ground to restrain the Consumer Fora from proceeding with the Complaints.
From this judgment, the inference we can withdraw is that years back we were left with only an option to  file a case in consumer court but after the advent of RERA, an aggrieved homebuyer has now an option to initiate legal proceedings against the errant developer/builder in both RERA Forum as well as Consumer Courts, but it has to be seen whether these complaints are timely concluded and or some relief is provided to the aggrieved homebuyer.

[1] NCDRC Consumer Case No. 1357 of 2017

Govt. in pursuit to ensure only active companies operational in India

Over the past few years, the Govt. has been making consistent efforts to control the menace of the shell companies. The recent case of M/s. Amrapali Group, who have committed a big fraud by illegally diverting and money collected from home buyers to other firms and the "big racket" behind this was unearthed. The main problem is that money received from the home buyers were spent partly and partly was diverted to other sister concern companies. 

Shell companies are those non-trading entities that are incorporated under the multiple layers of subsidiary companies. Generally, such companies hold assets, recruit employees only on paper and mostly deal with holding the ownership of assets, intellectual property, etc. for the parent company and act as vehicle for various financial embezzlement which may be kept dormant for future use.

The basic motive for which the Shell Companies are formed are for  the purposes of flouting laws by carrying out illegal transactions such as  channelization of black money, tax evasion, money laundering, etc. some of the Shell Companies have been an issue of much concern. The Government has been actively taking steps to handle the problem of these companies by way of putting them under the scanner of Serious Fraud Investigation Office, Economic Offences Wing, PMLA Courts, etc. A number of such companies (more than 200,000) have already been struck off from the Register of Companies along with the disqualification of their directors (over 100,000).

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) vide (Registration Offices and Fees) 2nd  Amendment Rules, 2019 on 25th  April,  2019 in its pursuit to improve Corporate Governance and Compliances on the part of the Company, has introduced e-form-INC-22A known as ACTIVE (Active Company Tagging Identities and Verification).It is mandatory for all the  Companies which got incorporated on or before December 31, 2017 and are under ‘Active’ status as on the date of filing to file the particulars for verification of registration and registered office, in e-Form ACTIVE-INC-22A on or before April 25, 2019. 

In case the company does not file e-form-INC-22A, it will be marked as “ACTIVE-non-compliant” and it shall only be allowed to file only after paying the penalty of Rs. 10,000/-.

Fees for Filing E-Form INC – 22
The fees for filing INC-22 is as follows:-
Nominal Share Capital (Rs.)
Fee Applicable
Less than 1,00,000
Rs. 200
1,00,000 to 4,99,000
Rs. 300
5,00,000 to 24,99,000
Rs. 400
25,00,000 to 99,99,999
Rs. 500
1,00,00,000 or more
Rs. 600

In case of delay in filing the same, the late fees shall be applied in the following manner:-

Period of Delay
Up to 30 days
2 times the normal fees
More than 30 days and up to 60 days
4 times the normal fees
More than 60 days and up to 90 days
6 times the normal fees
More than 90 days and  up to 180 days
10 times the normal fees
More than 180 days
12 times the normal fees

Companies that are struck off or in process of being so are not required to file the form. Also, if  a company is undergoing liquidation, amalgamation, or dissolution, as recorded with Registrar of Companies it is also exempted. A company that has not filed due financial statements under Section 137 or due annual returns under Section 92, or both, with ROC, is restricted from filing. Presently, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs has extended the due date for filing the INC-22 has been extended till June 15, 2019 vide this notification.