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The Role of Intellectual Property Rights in Technology Innovation

Intellectual Property (IP) is a term which refers to intangible creations that arise from human intellect. There are many types of IP recognized by law, and each type provides some form of protection to a person who has made the creation. The basic idea behind various types of IP is to provide an incentive to the owners to disclose the idea to public, so that others can further develop the technology, and therefore, it leads to an overall growth of science and technology. As logical as this may be, it has been criticized by many – people who follow an opposing school of thought propose that IP rights serve as a tool to provide monopoly to large corporations, and it’s difficult for smaller players to invest in R&D as much as bigger companies, eventually, strict implementations of IP laws kill the innovation and thus it defeats the sole purpose. Let’s examine this with help of history –

The Indian Pharma sector

The Indian Patent Act was enacted in 1970, at that time, the lawmakers did not allow protection to pharmaceutical products (i.e. medicines) under the act, but only afforded protection to “methods” of making pharmaceutical products. This allowed the Indian pharma industry to reverse engineer the drugs made by international companies, and manufacture them using alternate methods, i.e. they could make same API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) using different methods. Needless to say, that the exercise of researching an API is more capital intensive, than researching for an alternate method to produce the same API – and thus, came the rise of Indian generic drugs.

Looking back, it seems like the lawmakers might have done this intentionally, to preserve and promote the domestic pharma industry, as they knew that the domestic pharma industry probably did not have the necessary means to innovate back then. The result – India became the world’s largest provider of generic drugs, and we primarily became “imitators”and not “creators”.

The laws have since then been amended multiple to be TRIPS compliant, and since year 2005, India allows patenting of Pharma products. The industry reacted to this positively and domestic firms, since then and even prior to that, have slowly been investing more money into their R&D programs or have formed alliances to tap into these opportunities. Back then, when the patent law was enacted, the Indian pharma companies might not have been very capable of innovating and competing against international pharma giants, but today, we have companies like Biocon and Dr. Reddy’s – who rely heavily on R&D and have filed numerous patents across the globe, and are already competing against international pharma giants.

The Chinese example –

China is without doubt the manufacturing base of the globe, and Chinese products are synonyms for counterfeit for many. However, like India, Chinese patent laws are evolving and are moving towards a stricter IPR regimen – a brief review of the history of IP laws in China reveals this fact. Chinese patents act was enacted back in 1984 and thereafter, there have been three main amendments – the 1992 amendment, the 2000 amendment and the 2008 amendment. The 1992 amendment was made in accordance with “Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the United States and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Intellectual Property.”. The 2000 amendment was made in anticipation of China becoming a member of World Trade Organization (WTO). Both these amendments aimed to create a stricter IP regime, which was more in compliance with the developed countries across the globe. However, the 2008 amendment, which was also directed to creating a stricter IPR regimen and to promote patent filings, was purely voluntary and was done without any external pressure.

The result – China overtook US in 2011 in terms of patent filing, which was the leading country in patent filings till then. Since then, the China patent filings have remained more than double of US (Source: WIPO IP Statistics Data Center).

By encouraging the patent filings, and imposing a stricter IP regime, China aims to move from being a manufacturing hub to more of a research hub. It is not surprising to note Huawei among the top companies conducting active research and filing patents in 5G space.

The case of Robert Kearns –

Innovation not only stems from R&D labs of big companies but also from companies that start from a garage –key examples being companies like Apple and individuals like Robert Kearns. Robert Kearns was an inventor made famous by his patent war against automobile companies in US during 1978-1992. He was an inventor of intermittent windshield wiper, which was useful in light rain or mist, and held a patent for the technology. He tried to license his technology to General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler but each rejected his proposal. Even though the proposal was rejected, Ford and Chrysler went on to implement his technology in the cars they manufactured. Thus ensued the most interesting patent infringement cases that ran years, and finally the courts decided in favor of Robert, and the auto giants had to pay damages to Robert.

Conclusion –

From the standpoint of IP, the countries across the globe can be divided into two broad segments – Developed & Innovating and Developing & Imitating. The Developed and Innovating have well defined and well understood IP laws that impose a stricter IP regimen, which leads to innovation. Then comes the second segment – of which countries like India and China are a part, which are gradually moving to an ever stricter IP regimen, albeit with some temporary intentional delays recorded in India.

Stricter IP laws do seem to have a positive impact on driving innovation, at least in a longer run, and in the countries in which the industry has potential, and is capable of innovation. It seems that the hypothesis – “strict implementations of IP laws kill the innovation” might not be correct after all, and is more focused in short sighted goals. In fact, if it were not for a solid IPR regimen, it become easier for bigger companies to steal the idea from a genuine individual inventor – as we see from the case of Robert Kearns.

It is safe to assume that India does have a lot of potential of innovation, and with initiatives like “Make in India” every industry in India will react to become more and more innovating, and eventually, the legislation and the courts will enforce a stricter IP regimen in India as well.

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Covid19- Impact on Patent Filings in India

The coronaviruses that registered their first presence on the planet more than 50 years ago, recently became the hot topic of every conversation when the 7th known coronavirus, popularly known as Covid-19, took the entire world under its blanket and since then, every passing day adds to the horror of it as the tally of worldwide infected people increases with little to no promise of the development of a successful vaccine the next day. Covid-19 has brought an economical, health, financial as well as asocial crisis on every continent, country, state that none of them was prepared for and the only known counter-action to the governments, the “Lockdown,” has been cataclysmic for every business sector, from agriculture to IT, leaving them counting the costs. Although the world of intellectual property has successfully avoided a complete halt, the innovational pool has not been completely immune to the pandemic.

Covid-19 and Intellectual property: The after-effects

As stated above, the IP sector has so far managed to maintain the curve amidst the pandemic, but prolonged existence of the outbreak can nudge the IP and legal services domain to plummet as companies holding big IP portfolios are among the ones greatly affected by the virus and as a counter-act to tackle the declining economy, have started cost-cutting by minimizing the expenditure on maintenance of patents as well as prosecution. To further mitigate the expenditure, IP holders are even considering reducing the research costs as well as abandoning the holding of patents or the acquisition of new IP ideas.

Another after-effect of the pandemic can be an alarming reduction in the number of PCT applications filing as companies would refrain from spending extra bucks on patenting their innovation in every nation and would cleverly limit their filings to selective countries depending on their interests.

Further, the pandemic has affected the working of every patent and Trademark office from worldwide administrators like WIPO to every national PTO office.

The counterattack by IPO

As the virus continues to spread to more and more countries, IP offices throughout the world are taking countermeasures depending on their local landscape, to counter the effect of the pandemic on their working, operation procedures as well as the IP service practitioners. The Indian Patent and Trademark Office (IPO) along with other major PTOs like the European Patent Office (EPO), United Kingdom, and USPTO took the approach of extending the deadlines.

The Supreme court on March 23, took Suo Motucognizance over the concerns raised by the pandemic to debar them while keeping in mind the Social distancing norms issued by the Central Government and following that IPO has issued several notices to ensure the smooth dealing of IP related concerns.

Stimulating the Innovation curve amidst the pandemic

As the pandemic progresses towards more critical stages, the Indian IP office is expected to introduce policies to counter the impact and to provide relief as well as a ray of hope amidst the darkness to the IP holding companies and practitioners. Also, IP owners, holders, professionals, and practitioners are advised to manage their IP portfolio assiduously to identify and differentiate between their performing and non-performing assets and devise clever strategies to gain an upper foot in the post-pandemic environment. Further, it is important to seize and secure any essential IP concerning mass manufacturing of Crisis Critical (CC) Products.

Further, the likelihood of a surge in the growth of the intellectual property domain Post-COVID cannot be ignored as it will certainly push tech companies to go after incentivization of their portfolio via the licensing of their existing IP to refill their financial reserves.

To conclude, it can be said that the current scenario poses the potential threat of a downfall in the domain, but the perennial introduction of countermeasures by IPO as well as holding on to and investing in critical IP assets by the IP holders can prove as a potential opportunity of growth of the domain in the post-pandemic world.

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Patent law: Transforming the telecommunications industry

The telecommunications industry is perhaps the largest driving force behind almost all other industries that benefit from it – it is the epicenter for a variety of other industries that depend on it. Remember how online payments of electricity bills, and online bank transactions 10 years back have now moved to apps sitting in our smartphone. Today, a smartphone is anything but a cell phone used for calling – the users depend on smartphones for many other things such as – remote working, ordering groceries and entertainment. Off late, the mobile phone has also become a wallet for many – perhaps, the demonetization provided the necessary impetus!

The largest and most widely used services by users currently are– video streaming, Internet of Things (IoT), and mobile payments. We took a deeper dive into each of these areas from a patenting activity standpoint and identified over 10,000 patent applications that are filed in India for these three technologies. Of these patent publications, almost 60% have been published in the past 5 years indicating an increased focus on innovation. The largest chunk of publications studied was accounted for by the mobile payments segment (~70% share) followed by the Video Streaming and IoT, roughly accounting for 15% each.

Interesting trends emerge upon looking at the owners of these patents – the overall top assignees in the patent dataset studied are – Qualcomm, Samsung and MasterCard. Collectively, these three players account for roughly 12% patents studied, thereby indicating that many other players are active in these areas and there is no single player that holds sizeable chunks of IP for now.

Digging deeper into the individual domains, the following trends emerge:

Mobile payments:

Top Players: Qualcomm, Mastercard and Alibaba group

Only Indian company making it to the top 10 list in this domain was Tata Consultancy Services

Video streaming:

Top Players: Qualcomm, Sony, Philips


Top Players: Samsung, Qualcomm, Lovely Professional University (LPU)

Notably, Academia also seems to have active interest in pursuing patent filings in this domain

The telecom value chain comprises of multiple segments – Device manufacturers, Infrastructure and platform vendors, Operators, etc. The patent activity from the operators seems to be on the lower side – our research was able to locate only 71 Indian patent publications from Reliance JioInfocomm, 32 from Vodafone and 7 from Bharti Airtel. The main reason for low patent activity may be due to the fact that these Operators put in very little or no research efforts, and they implement the technology developed by the Infrastructure and platform vendors.

Undoubtedly, the next big phenomenon in the telecom industry will be the 5G revolution. According to a report from Qualcomm, 5G is predicted to have US$13.2 Trillion dollars of global economic output by the year 2035. Perhaps, the Infrastructure and platform vendors have realized this since long and have been amassing 5G related patents at a phenomenal rate. The following are the approximate counts of patent families (global data) declared as relating to the 5G standards:

Huawei– 3000+ patents

Ericsson – 1400+ patents

Nokia – 2000+ patents

Qualcomm – 1300+ patents

Digging deeper, we also studied the likelihood of these patents entering into India eventually, and the following statistics emerge:

Company Total patent families – All years Patent families filed in India – All years % Total patent families – published>2015 Patent families filed in India – published>2015 %
Huawei 95,541 6,338 7 53,741 5,217 10
Ericsson 54,211 8,323 15 19,700 3,844 20
Nokia* 77,781 6,401 8 17,105 1,799 11
Qualcomm 59,449 21,205 36 34,922 11,116 32

(Source: research on a leading third-party patent database; *Alcatel Lucent data included)

5G did not come into existence overnight, and the research has been going on for a while, but the most patents related to 5G were published after 2016, and we can see that the % of filing in India is on the rise by most companies actively pursuing 5G, noting an active interest in India.

All in all, it can be safely concluded that patents have thus far played a big role in shaping Telecom industry, and are likely to play a more crucial role in the coming times, especially in the 5G licensing space – though it remains to be seen who, among the above giants, wins the race to the 5G patent dominance.

Patent law: Transforming the telecommunications industry Article by Amit Aggarwal Co-Founder and Director of Effectual Services.

Article was 1st published On Dataquest India

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5 best ways to motivate and help increase productivity of employees during lockdown

Here are a few motivational and helpful ways for increasing the productivity of employees during the lockdown.

The world has been brought down on its knees at the onset of Covid-19 pandemic. Preventive actions for Covid-19 include avoiding social gathering and maintaining social distance, and thus complete or partial lockdown of nation.

The virus can be exceptionally contagious particularly in a crowded office place, therefore worldwide companies have triggered the alarm bell in corporate world. Due to such preventive actions, offices cannot run smoothly as they were running before, thus majority of the companies are opting Work from Home (‘WFH’) as a better option to not completely shut down economy flow.

Due to lockdown across the globe, 70 per cent of the office goers are regularly working from the home. Even though, some companies are looking for WFH as a permanent option for their employees, for instance Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has recently announced that 75 per cent of the total workforce will work from home permanently by 2025.

However, there are some drawbacks of the WFH for employees and employer. Being isolated in the home, and doing work simultaneously is challenging for employees, hence, the companies are trying to get hold of the balance between keeping employees motivated and maintaining a healthy office environment that can improve work productivity.

We have jotted down a few motivational and helpful ways for increasing the productivity of employees during the lockdown.

1. Online Activity:

Working from home and isolating circumstances under this period may take a toll on the mental and physical health of employees. In normal office days, the team activities are held to keep employees engaged with each other. In the same fashion, it is possible to host online activities to build the team bond and display unity such as online quiz, selfie from home, online Antakshari can be played.

Covid-19 pandemic is imposing panic situation across the world, thereby mental health support is necessarily needed. Acknowledging the efforts of employees provides necessary encouragement to keep spirits high.

Additionally, online team building activities not only play the part of gathering all remote employees but also holding them together as a team, which would reflect on work productivity. The activities can be performed by modern tools, like the Clue app, a team of detective can solve a mystery or virtual pub quiz. Therefore, virtually motivating employees to spend time on their health and wellness.

2. Prize and Reward

If there is an exciting event or contest, obviously adrenaline goes up and creates a positive energy around. Getting bottom of the topic, there can be an interesting contest among employees to follow rules (like staying at home for maximum number of days) as described in the Arogya Setu app. In the other words, it is somewhat similar to the well-known worldwide popular show “Big-Brother”, where the home mates are awarded for completing some task. Craft, painting, ‘work from home’ selfie, sculpturing, dancing, or cooking competition could also be considered.

3. Virtual Tour and Travel:

Dealing with boredom or feel like being banged up is a usual human feeling. Mostly people like to travel to other countries to know their culture, language, ritual and tradition, and food. Some companies or nations are offering online virtual tours for the world’s famous museums, cultural monuments, art galleries, national and safari parks. It can fairly encounter the boredom. Augmented reality technology which can be taken into consideration. Many augmented reality videos are available on a popular website like YouTube.

4. Skill development:

In addition to daily work, employees can invest some time on knowledge enhancement that can lead to improve quality, productivity and soft skills. Online sessions can be arranged for large audience by HR of the company to ensure maximum benefit.

Additionally, providing generic information on the Covid-19 pandemic including safety and health tips, which would educate employees and make them confident about their health safety. The HR team can initiate and arrange video conference sessions, circulate email post illustrating information about safety tips, design fun work out chart, healthy recipes. Furthermore, the team can also keep all employees updated by sending the latest news information, which would make them alert and conscious about the pandemic situation.

Draw out charts, tips for self-care and making fun videos would also help to reduce stress and anxiety. Arranging video counseling sessions can be a possible way to take off the isolation anxiety load or fear, therefore this would maintain employee’s morale and lighten the stress longer.

5. Virtual Parties:

It might sound absurd, but it has been done by some companies so far. In the cafeteria, a team celebrates birthday parties, small treats, that satisfy hunger as well as a feeling of being together. Virtual parties are possible during the lockdown period, if all the employees in a team can manage to order similar food dishes like Pizza, Birger at their home, which could make a sense of being together and keeping up with the office atmosphere. Additionally, if someone has a birthday, the birthday cake can be delivered to the employee and having a video chat with the team for good wishes, ultimately it would reflect on feeling of being loved on a special day.


Engaging your employees in the current situation is challenging in the competitive business environment.

Employees hold the key to success in the race; therefore, it is necessary to motivate and help them in everypossible way. Cutting edge technology like augmented reality platforms, loving nature, learning new things, and hope for the future can be the fuel for running through boredom, isolation, anxiety, and stress. In the time of lockdown, companies can implement their values to bring all remote employees together, boost their morale, and improve work experience through this Covid-19 battle.

5 best ways to motivate and help increase productivity of employees during lockdown Article by Amit Aggarwal Co-Founder and Director of Effectual Services.

Article was 1st published On India Today

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Trademark Opposition System in India: Grounds, Provisions and Procedure at Indian Patent Office (IPO)


Once a trademark application is filed at Trademark Registry, it is examined by the Trademark Registrar with respect to distinctiveness of an applied mark. If the Trademark Registrar gets satisfied about the distinct nature of the applied mark and feels that there are no existing similar mark(s) in the register of Trademarks, then the applied mark is published into the Trademark Journal.

The published Trademark is opened for public inspection/opposition by third parties for a period of 04 months. In matters where no opposition is filed during this period, the mark gets registered. In another situation, where oppositions are filed, then the opposition proceedings are initiated and decision of the applied mark depends upon on the outcome of the opposition proceedings at the Trademark Registry.

Time duration for Filing Notice of Trademark Opposition

The notice of opposition may be filed within 03 months from the date of publication of a trademark in the Trademark Journal which is further extendable by 01 month (3+1). The time duration is not extendable under any circumstance. In matters where the notice of opposition gets filed after 03 months but before the expiry of 4th month, then it should be accompanied by a request for an extension by 01 month along with one or more suitable reasons for such delay in filing the opposition.

Who can file a Trademark Opposition?

Under Section 21 of Trade Mark Act, “Any person” who is having thinking that his/ her brand name/logo or reputation of a company could be damaged if the trademark application gets registered. He / She could opt to oppose such registration by filing a Notice of Opposition by prescribed form along with requisite fee.

There is no restriction on who may file an opposition. Anyone who is having an opinion that the published trademark application may create confusion among the public as having similar goods, may file for the opposition and wait for further trademark proceedings.

The opponent does not mandatorily have to be a registered proprietor of a trademark. He / She could be either a purchaser, customer or a member of the public likely to use the similar goods. The logic behind this opposition provision is that the opponent is not only representing himself / herself but also represents public because having two similar marks in the market dealing with same goods may result unnecessary confusion amongst the public. 

Grounds of trademark opposition

There are various grounds of Trademark Opposition on the basis of which one can file trademark opposition:

  • In case the trademark found similar or identical to an earlier or existing registered trademark;
  • In case the trademark is devoid of any distinctive character or descriptive in nature;
  • The trademark gets likely to deceive the public or cause confusion among the public;
  • In case the trade mark is of customary in the current language, or it comes under the established practices of business;
  • In case, the trademark mark becomes contrary to the trademark law or gets prohibited under the Emblem and Names Act, 1950;
  • The trademark mark that may contain subject matter which is likely to hurt religious sentiments of any class or section of people 

Advantages of Trademark Opposition

  1. Beneficial Remedy for TM proprietor: Trademark opposition becomes an efficient tool in stopping other trademark owners to continue similar marks as it may hinder/dilute their brand/logo image or may cause confusion in the market dealing with same kinds of goods.
  2. Public Consultation: As the trademark brands are created on the basis of public popularity and demand, it is mandatory to first consult the public before trademark approval regarding trademark applied and seeking for registration. 

Documents required to file a Trademark Opposition

The documents which are required at the time of filing Trademark Opposition are as under:

  • Applicant’s details: Full name, Address, Nationality etc. details of the applicant.
  • Power of Authorization (POA): POA allows the attorney or a trademark agent to file the trademark opposition on the behalf of the applicant.
  • Affidavit: Affidavit with the basic required information related with the trademark and its first usage date and proof of use/evidences.
  • Details regarding the opposed mark along with all possible grounds of oppositions: Detailed information related to the trademark against which the trademark opposition needs to be filed, e. all possible grounds for filing the opposition.

Different Stages in Trademark Opposition Proceedings

Stage 1 – Filing a Notice of Opposition/Filing a Counter-Statement

Any person may submit Notice of Opposition within 04 months of publication in TM Journal along with prescribed fees and forms. Once notice of opposition is submitted at the TM Registry, it is reviewed by the Registrar for formality requirements and the registrar accordingly issues the opposition notice to the applicant.

Stage 2 – Filing of counter statement

A counter-statement or reply to the notice of opposition is required to be filed within two (02) months. There is no extension to file a counter-statement provided by the TM Registry which clearly states that in case the Trademark applicant fails to submit a counter-statement within two (02) months of issuance of the Notice of opposition, the mark will be then deemed to be abandoned.

Stage 3 – Filing of Evidence in support of Opposition

Within two (02) months which may be further extendable by one (01) month of getting the counter-statement, the opponent is required to provide evidences in support of the Notice of Opposition in Affidavit form in order to strengthen the case. Opponent may also opt to waive filing an Affidavit if he / she wishes to rely on the facts which are stated in the Notice of Opposition. Whatever maybe the option selected by the opponent, the opponent need to inform the TM Registry and the applicant within the prescribed time. In case he / she does not inform the same, the opposition proceedings would be treated as abandoned.

Stage 4 – Filing of Evidence in support of Counter- Statement

Within two (02) months of getting evidence or information regarding waiver by the opponent, the Applicant need to file evidence in support of his / her submitted counter-statement/application. The Applicant here is also having an option to waive his right to submit any evidence. 

Stage 5 – Filing of Evidence in Reply

Within one (1) month of issuance of evidence or getting waiver, the Opponent again gets the option to submit additional evidence(s) in support of his / her opposition. This option is to acquire some sort of clarity in the proceedings, for proving rebut the evidence(s) produced by Applicant.

Stage 6 – Hearing

Within three (03) months of the finishing of the evidences, a hearing gets appointed and both the parties i.e. opponent and applicant are informed. After hearing both the parties and considering the evidences in detail, the TM Registrar takes a decision whether the trademark need to be accepted or not. However, in cases where either party i.e.  Opponent or Applicant aggrieved by the Registrar’s decision could challenge the Registrar’s decision and may file an appeal before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB).

Notice of Opposition based on Trans-Border Reputation

Section 35 of the Indian Trade Marks Act, 1999 reveals a provision for protection of foreign trademarks on the basis of their international reputation under the term “Trans-border Reputation”. Indian Trade Marks Law acknowledges internationally renowned foreign brands and their goods and such brands/marks are given protection against identical and similar marks and owners of marks of these foreign brands are granted legal protection in India, irrespective of use of goods/services or registration of marks in India. The goodwill acquired by the manufacturer is not necessarily limited to the country where the goods are freely available because the goods, though not available, are widely advertised in newspapers periodical, magazines, and in other Media. The result is that though the goods are not available in the country, the goods and the mark under which they are sold acquires wide reputation. Some legal precedents from key decisions in India are as under: N.R. Dongre And Ors vs Whirlpool Corporation And Anr 1996; Indian Shaving Products Ltd. & Anr. vs Gift Pack & Anr. 1998; Milmet Oftho Industries & Ors. v. Allergan Inc. 2004.


India’s Trademark law provides provisions for trademark opposition – An efficient and effective method for preventing or revoking the grant of non-eligible marks. However, this provision of opposition proceedings leads to backlog of trademark prosecutions at the Indian Trademark Registry. The oppositions also delay in the process of grant of the marks.

Trademark opposition helps opponents in securing their logos/marks. The Indian Trademark law has provisions to oppose such unfair use, e.g. to oppose the deceptively similar marks. The owner/applicant of the deceptively similar mark could try to encash the immense goodwill and reputation earned by the opponent. If allowed, the mark would be registered as a registered mark in India, and the applicant of deceptive similar trademarks may not be able to protect their brand in India after registration. Therefore, in order to protect the reputation and goodwill earned by applicant’s mark, our recommendation is to file a: NOTICE OF OPPOSITION. 


Dr. Amit Goel (Director) can be reached at and Jyoti Chauhan (Manager). For any query related to trademark opposition system in India, please feel free to contact at

Effectual Services is one of the fastest growing Intellectual Property Management Advisory firms offering IPR services (trademark, copyright, design and patent) and knowledge research services to Fortune 500 companies, law firms, start-ups, research institutes, universities, and venture capital/PE firms.


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Blockchain and Intellectual Property: The decentralized alliance

Blockchain, in simple words, is an anonymous online ledger, which keeps a growing list of records, called blocks, linked using cryptography where each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data. It was invented back in 2008, as a Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System by an inventor with the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.

It is a concept, simple yet so complex and diverse in its use-cases, some people already speculate that this is a phenomenon similar to the revolution brought by the Internet. Speaking about the industrial application of the blockchain –Finance is one of the leading areas this technology is traversing its roots into.

The early birds to file a patent on blockchain were big financial institutions including Bank of America, Mastercard International, and Goldman Sachs. In India, a few patent applications based on the technology have been filed as well. Other than this, smart contracts, shared economy, governance, file storage, Internet of Things (IoT), identity management, data management, stock trading, healthcare and life sciences sector, e-commerce, pharmaceuticals, automotive, luxury and consumer goods, etc. are the fields in which the technology is gaining pace.

Blockchain and IPR: A hand-in-hand relationship

IPR and Blockchain go hand in hand –on one side the IPR protects Blockchain and Blockchain can serve to strengthen the existing IP regime on the other. With the world realizing the enormous potential of Blockchain, IPR is going to play a vital role in creating a protected environment for the development of the technology. On the other hand –reliability and security offered by Blockchain can be used to strengthen every step of the life cycle of IP rights such as resolving disputes over ownership, creating licensing agreements via blockchain smart contracts, identification of counterfeit products or simply creating an IP register for registering keeping a record for all form of IP rights.

And this may not really be a thing of the future too distant in time after all –There are some early adopters who seem to have already started offering services to this end.

IPO (Indian Patent Office) initiatives

A lot of countries around the world have started realising the potential of blockchain and India is no exception – the IPO is keen on staying at par with the technological advancements and expects to be able to foretell timelines for users concerning different actions to be taken by the office. A scientifically-handled workload-based allotment of patent applications to examiners will make optimal use of human resources available. Automated checking against formal requirements such as application formats, attachments, and so on, can reduce the manual intervention required, and speed up the process considerably. Reduced manual interference will also affect transparency and accountability procedures in an optimistic way.

To achieve all of the above, the IPO is setting up a legal framework for a Blockchain-based IP registry to protect and commercialize smart ideas. More information on the same can be obtained here: Redefining and Transforming Patent Services in India.


There is, without doubt, an enormous potential for the use of blockchain for the benefit of IP industry. But, like any emerging technology, there are a few setbacks. Currently, these include the huge processing power required and limitations on the number of transactions per hour. Regarding the ultimate notion of a method to connect registries across the world through a single distributed ledger, the reality is far from simple. Successful management of IP rights using blockchain requires standardized platform that is internationally adopted.

By Amit Aggarwal, Co-Founder and Director, Effectual Services

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How to research a patent idea by performing novelty invention search?

How to carry out research on patentable idea?

A novelty patent search is performed to analyse whether your idea/ technology / invention is new or not.  The patent search novelty report provided by the patent expert will tell you whether your invention is novel or not. The search report will include list of selected granted patents, published patents and non-patent literature which will become prior art existing for your technology. The patent search report will also contain legal expert opinion on the novelty of your invention. Our patent lawyers and attorneys assist in re-engineering your invention in the light of prior art documents

How can Patent Search help in determining Patentability of Invention?

Before spending time, money and resources for filing a patent application, it is strongly advisable to conduct a patent search . A qualified patent attorney can determine patentability of an invention by analysing relevant prior art references (published patent applications, granted patents and non-patent literature) in accordance with patent laws of relevant jurisdictions.

Patent Search before Filing A Patent Application 

While conducting a prior art search and performing patentability analysis, patent attorneys ensure that the search is comprehensive and corresponding analysis is thorough to include all possible embodiments of the proposed invention. Generally, the patent search results are compiled in the form of a detailed document known as patent search report. The patent search report further helps in writing a draft specification for patent.


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Significance & Importance of ‘Statement of Working’ for Patenting System in India

The Statement of working is important information which is submitted by either the patentee or the licensee to the IPO (Indian patent office) that clearly states the commercial exploitation of a patent in India. This statement of working system also checks if the patent meets the reasonable requirements of the public.

Legal provisions
Statement of working needs to be submitted for all patents in force under Section 146(2) of the Indian Patent Act and under rule 131. These statements are required to be filed on an annual basis with respect to all the granted patents in India. These statements of working disclose the extent to which the patented invented has been worked on the commercial scale. The timeline for filing of the working statement is March 31st of every year for each preceding calendar year. This statement is submitted by filing prescribed Form-27 each year within 3 months from the end of the calendar year. This form can be filed online by either the patentee or the licensee, or by a patent agent/ attorney who has the address of service in India. In case, the patentee or licensee is residing outside India, he must contact an Indian patent agent/ attorney for submitting this form at the IPO.

The controller at any time can also ask the patentee or the licensee to submit details in writing as to what extent of commercialization in respect of the patent has been exploited in India, as per Section 146(1).

One must update the Indian patent office with following details while filing form-27 i.e. statement of working of patented invention:

(i) The patented invention:
{    } Worked {    } Not worked

(a) If not worked: reasons for not working and steps being taken for the working of the invention
(b) If worked: quantum and value (in Rupees), of the patented product:
i) manufactured in India
ii) imported from other countries (give country wise details)

(ii) Licenses and sub-licenses granted during the year

(iii) State whether the public requirement has been met partly /adequately/ to the fullest extent at a reasonable price

Compulsory license
The information disclosed in the statement of working is used while taking decisions on granting a compulsory license. Therefore, legal provisions relating to compulsory licenses and working of patent are interlinked. IPAB (Intellectual Property Appellate Board), India, also took into consideration the same information disclosed in the statement of working by the patentee at the time of granting the first compulsory license in India. IPAB took a landmark decision in “Bayer Corporation v. Natco Pharma Ltd” case where compulsory license was granted to Natco.

Penalty on failure to oblige

In case, the patentee or licensee refuses or fails to submit information as required under Sec 146, the patentee or licensee can be punished with a fine, which can be extended up to Ten lakh rupees under Section 122(1)(b). Further, providing wrongful information or statement can impose imprisonment up to six months or fine or both under Section 122(2).

A patent can be also revoked on the grounds of non-working of patented invention under section 85 of Indian Patent Act.

Patent litigation
Working or non-working of a patent becomes an important factor while considering infringement suits. In suits relating to infringement under section 108 of Indian Patent Act, the patentee, can claim damages and injunction and/or an account of profit as relief. The disclosed information in the statement of working can be used by the court to estimate the actual damages that may have been claimed. On the other hand, if statement of working is not filed, the alleged infringer may argue that the patentee might not have encountered any damages in view of not filing any statement of working.

Publication of working statements
The statement of working provides useful insights into effectiveness of the patenting system for various companies, industries and other business bodies which utilize the patented invention in their course of business. The IPO made all working statements publicly available online, filed by the patentee during the preceding year. Section 146(3) clearly mentions power of Controller to publish the information received by the IPO under section 146(1) and (2). Such type of publication of valuable information shows the effectiveness of patenting system in India and can be utilized in many forums like academicians, law-makers and potential licensees to amend or improve the Indian patent law. It also helps to evaluate the patents covered under these published working statements.

Publication of statement of working encourages development in the science and technology domain. Beside this, it also has business and trade advantages. Working statements pertaining to a patent help in evaluating the value of a patent and thus help a potential licensee to negotiate the fee for getting the license which would be based on the value of a particular patent. Moreover, a working statement is also important in proving a milestone from the business merger or a business takeover perspective. Furthermore, industries may customize their resources occupied in research and development which would be according to the prospering technology relating to their field based on the information extracted from available working statements. Thus, the information we acquire from working of inventions gives an excellent idea about the commercial viability of inventions, effectiveness of inventions and plays an important role in valuation of patent portfolios and compulsory licensing.

Submitting information regarding working of patent is becoming a peculiar requirement under Indian patent law. Patents are granted to encourage invention, innovation, research and technology and to ensure that the invention, for which the patent has been filed, is being commercialized for the benefit of the public. Filing of statement of working discloses periodic information to the Indian patent office regarding Commercialization of the patented invention in Indian Jurisdiction thereby preventing the non-commercialization/ non- use or misuse of patented inventions. It does appear that the information from relevant form helps to evaluate critical information for compulsory licensing, also this information is important in the industry, and helps in taking business decisions. Therefore, the filing of Form 27 for all granted patents is a statutory requirement which is required to be followed and the Indian patent office should enforce action strictly against those people who are violating the Indian patent law.

About us
Effectual Services is a leading Intellectual Property (IP) management advisory firm offering IP support solutions to Fortune 500 companies, law firms, research institutes, universities, and venture capital firms/PE firms. Our team comprises of multi-disciplinary experts with rich experience in handling complex patent assignments in such domains as Alternative Energy, Automotive and Aerospace, Biomedical, etc. Effectual Services has technical and legal experts to handle every conceivable technology or situation and support at every stage of patent life cycle from drafting and prosecution to enforcement and litigation. Our firm’s clientele range from IP law firms, general law firms, patent licensing firms, patent brokers, legal departments at mid-sized companies, multinational conglomerates, research institutions and includes university and venture capital backed clients. We help our clients improve their business effectiveness and maximize ROI by leveraging deep domain expertise, engineering excellence, rock-solid execution and a comprehensive delivery model.

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Introduction to Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is the branch of technology that deals with dimensions at a nanoscale, i.e., about 1 to 100 nanometers. To give you a scale of how small that is, the width of the hair on our scalp is somewhere between 60,000-120,000 nm. Fig. 1 captures the scale of several other living and non-living things with illustrations to highlight the scale.

The Scale of Things

Unlike in their regular size, materials at a nanoscale tend to have a higher strength, lighter weight, increased control of light spectrum, and a greater chemical reactivity than their larger-scale counterparts. Researchers and technologists try to capitalize on this shift in properties for diverse applications. Nanotechnology has applications across varied branches of science such as organic chemistry, molecular biology, farming and agriculture, micro fabrication, and molecular engineering to name a few. Since nanoparticles have a high surface area, sorption capacity, and controlled-release kinetics to targeted site they are also frequently used as delivery systems.

Nanofertilizers – A Thriving Discipline
One of the applications of nanotechnology that is trending in agricultural circles these days is the niche area of nanofertilizers. Chemical fertilizers, which have been the most commonly used fertilizers so far, are not suitable for the long run because although they increase the crop production, they disturb the soil mineral balance and decrease soil fertility. Large-scale application of chemical fertilizers results in an irreparable damage to the microbial flora of the soil, plants, and even more on the food chains across ecosystems. This may result in mutations that could be passed on to consumers and may affect future generations.

Flowchart highlightingthe need for Nanofertilizers

Nanofertilizer- Applications and Uses
In agriculture, nanofertilizers are used for diverse applications. They have a role in soil and environmental pollution control; they help in the efficient uptake of micronutrients by crops using slow release mechanisms. They also have applications in cost cutting due to the reduction in volume of fertilizer required for desired effect. Fig. 3 highlights the areas of focus of patents filed during the last decade.

number of filed patent families

Soil and Environment related applications
Research into nanofertilizers that avoid deterioration of soil is on the rise. Analysts at Effectual observed an increase in patent filings towards this objective, especially in the year 2015 to address various disadvantages caused by chemical fertilizers (Fig. 3). Nanofertilizers leave lesser soil footprint and so the natural mineral present in the soil are retained.

Fertilizer nutrients and residues in soil can sometimes run off into coastal waters, lakes and streams, resulting in eutrophication of the water body. Nanofertilizers avoid such consequences by slow release of the nutrients into the soil.

Another major disadvantage observed while using regular fertilizers is the decomposition of carbon containing fertilizers. Carbon Nanofertilizers can be used to reduce the decomposition of carbon containing fertilizers and thereby cause reduction in green house gas emission.

Nanofertilizers increase the retention of nutrient in the soil through the extent of the sorption which is controlled by physical and chemical properties of both the fertilizer and the soil and this directly reduces water pollution. According to Fig. 3, the focus of nanofertilizer research towards reducing environmental pollution was highest among patent filings in 2014.

Nutrients and Application area
One of the main advantages of nanofertilizers when compared to their regular sized counterparts is the effective delivery of nutrients to the crops. Trace elements and minerals used in nanofertilizers are more ready for easy absorption by crops. Effectual Services identified several minerals being used in nanofertilizers such as Selenium, Clay mineral, medical stone, tourmaline, zeolite, titanium dioxide, germanium, silver and gold.

Based on the sorption studies done on fertilizers, each element has a different application area. Sometimes the same element has more than one application area. The mostly commonly observed areas of application were fruits, leaves, Seeds or grains, tubers, roots and flowers.

Elements and their Application Areas

Although research in nanofertilizers continues to grow and advance, there are limitations that act as barriers to the pace of advancement. Many studies that examine the effect of a particular nanofertilizer, lack detailed physical characterization of the particles. Parameters such as monodispersity of the particle, size of the particle, and surface chemistry could even lead to contrasting effects while using the same nanomaterial. The lack of proper standardized studies in the field has led to the absence of research to fall back on while developing new technologies. To establish credibility throughout, it is suggested that a universal definition of nanoscale be followed across the fertilizer industry. This lack of standardized terminology in research acts as a limiting factor to progress in the technology.

Since nanofertilizer is still a nascent technology, it is not yet fully clear what implications it could have on human health and environment in the long run. It is difficult to put a finger on how the technology will pan out in the near future. However, there is a potential for research and development since initial studies in the field seem to indicate positive outcomes with little negative impact on the environment. Researchers and environmental regulators have to work hand in hand to make progress in the field for a better future for all of us.

About us
Effectual Services is a leading Intellectual Property (IP) management advisory firm offering IP support solutions to Fortune 500 companies, law firms, research institutes, universities, and venture capital firms/PE firms. Our team comprises of multi-disciplinary experts with rich experience in handling complex patent assignments in such domains as Alternative Energy, Automotive and Aerospace, Biomedical, etc. Effectual Services has technical and legal experts to handle every conceivable technology or situation and support at every stage of patent life cycle from drafting and prosecution to enforcement and litigation. Our firm’s clientele range from IP law firms, general law firms, patent licensing firms, patent brokers, legal departments at mid-sized companies, multinational conglomerates, research institutions and includes university and venture capital backed clients. We help our clients improve their business effectiveness and maximize ROI by leveraging deep domain expertise, engineering excellence, rock-solid execution and a comprehensive delivery model.

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New Innovations in Diabetes

Diabetes refers to a group of metabolic diseases with debilitating consequences in which the person has high blood glucose, either because the body’s insulin production is inadequate, or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both. Based on the cause for rise in blood glucose, there are three major types of Diabetes:

  • Type 1 Diabetes – Body does not produce enough insulin to control blood sugar
  • Type 2 Diabetes – The body produces insulin but cannot use it effectively
  • Gestational Diabetes – A temporary condition that occurs during pregnancy

The number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014 according to a study done by World Health Organization (WHO).


Earlier methods to detect blood glucose level mostly involved testing blood and urine samples for glucose. Invasive methods like drawing blood several times a day can lead to both discomfort and infections. With the increase in the number of deaths related to diabetes and complex testing process, there is a need for early and continuous detection and monitoring of blood sugar level in patients when it rises above normalcy.

A team from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, US, came up with a potential solution to this problem in the form of a novel monosaccharide contact lens. To detect the tear glucose the team developed a new range of boronic acid containing fluorophores that can report the presence of glucose in tears. Glucose sensitive fluorophores are embedded into contact lenses. The team showed that their modified contact lenses were suitable for the continuous monitoring of tear glucose levels in the concentration range 50-500mM which tracks blood glucose levels that are 5-10 folds higher.

The image above captures the working principle of the technology. The photonic crystal sensing materials would be contained in the contact lens or ocular insert. The color diffracted changes with the tear glucose concentration. A simple mirrored compact-like device would illuminate the sensor material with white light. The color of the sensor would be determined by viewing the reflected (diffracted) light and comparing it with an exterior color wheel calibrated in terms of the blood glucose concentration.

In July 2014, Google announced its entry into the diabetes scene by announcing a partnership between Google X (now renamed X) and the European Pharma giant Novartis’ eye care unit Alcon. As part of the agreement, Alcon said it would look to create products from Google’s prototype smart contact lens, which uses miniature sensors and a radio antenna thinner than a human hair to track glucose levels.

To make the blood-glucose-monitoring contact lens, the researchers used technology that was initially developed for electronic products. They tinkered with a material called indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO), whose electronic properties have recently helped boost the image quality in smartphone, tablet and flat-panel displays while also saving power and improving touch-screen sensitivity.

The researchers made contact lenses that included sheets of transistors made with IGZO. The transistors were coated with an enzyme called glucose oxidase, which breaks down sugar. This meant that when the contact lenses were exposed to glucose, a chemical reaction took place as the enzyme broke down the sugar. The transistors measured this reaction through changes in the electrical currents that flowed through the lenses. This indicated that glucose was present. Even very low concentrations of glucose could be detected by this method.

Since research first began in the field, a whole bunch of companies have started filing patents in the technology. This being a relatively new technology, most innovators in the field are pioneers paving way for a new industry. Since most diabetics also suffer from eye disorders, the lens will have to address more than one problem.
Since its inception, Google lens has come a long way. The lenses are now being developed with Alphabet’s life sciences unit Verily. Measuring blood sugar via the eye could allow diabetics to lead more normal lives without having to prick their fingers every time they have to test for blood glucose, while an autofocus contact lens would help people whose ability to focus is impaired when their eyes age. Many diabetics also suffer from Glaucoma and other eye related disorders that can also be detected using pressure sensors in the eye. Recent research is touching upon several of these disorders; however it is still unclear when the testing for these will begin.

Apart from advancements in detection and monitoring glucose level in diabetic patients, there is much advancement in systems where the diagnosis is coupled with therapy as well. The technique involves testing blood glucose levels using subcutaneous sensors. These systems are helpful in treating Type 1 Diabetes and feature an artificial pancreas (AP) – also called a closed loop system – which releases insulin when the glucose level in blood is higher than normal.

There are two major system-level approaches to achieving closed-loop control of blood glucose in diabetic individuals. The unihormonal approach uses insulin to reduce blood glucose and relies on complex safety mitigation algorithms to reduce the risk of hypoglycemia. The bihormonal approach, on the other hand uses insulin to lower blood glucose and glucagon to raise blood glucose, and also relies on complex algorithms to provide for safety of the user. The advent of modern smartphones has created the ability to use smartphone technology as the engineering centerpiece of an artificial pancreas.

Innovations in automated insulin delivery were also driven by families that had diabetic individuals at home. Fathers of children with diabetes and Associations for families with Type 1 diabetic individuals drove the awareness and research by using computer algorithms to record and display glucose levels. Several start ups were initiated to innovate and open source the findings in the field to make technology affordable to diabetic individuals.

In spite of the growing research driven by families of diabetic individuals, the closed loop Artificial Pancreas, was first developed in June 2014 by Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston University. The results obtained from the initial tests were presented at the American Diabetes Association. Since then several companies have upped the ante by racing to file patents in the technology domain. Analysts at Effectual observed high patent filings in artificial pancreas by Medtronic, Animas Corp., Halozyme, Johnson & Johnson, Nikkiso, University of California, Abbot, and Harvard University.

Companies investing in Artificial Pancreas Research are on the rise as evident from the below graph showing patent publications from 1998 to 2016 with each colored dot representing a year. Research in this area seems to be on the rise.

The map below represents the concentration of Artificial Pancreas patents filed in different parts of the world, based on the color gradient from purple to pink. USA denoted in dark red has the most number of filings.

On 28th September 2016, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of the first hybrid closed loop system AF– Medtronic’s MiniMed 670G – to monitor and treat diabetes. A Public Benefit Corporation called Beta Bionics founded by Ed Damiano, the father of a juvenile with Type 1 Diabetes, says they will have an insulin only version of the closed loop Artificial Pancreas (iLet) approved in 2018. The development is funded by Eli Lilly.

Earlier in 2017, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) announced the funding of 4 pivotal researches towards artificial pancreas. Most of these projects are in their final phases of testing and development. A successful artificial pancreas would be a life-changing advance for many people with Type 1 diabetes. NIDDK is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA. “These studies aim to collect the data necessary to bring artificial pancreas technology to the people who need it,” said Dr. Guillermo Arreaza-Rubín, director of NIDDK’s Diabetes Technology Program.

“For many people with type 1 diabetes, the realization of a successful, fully automated artificial pancreas is a dearly held dream. It signifies a life freer from nightly wake-up calls to check blood glucose or deliver insulin, a life freer from dangerous swings of blood glucose,” said NIDDK Director Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers. “Nearly 100 years since the discovery of insulin, a successful artificial pancreas would mark another huge step toward better health for people with type 1 diabetes.”

About us
Effectual Services is a leading Intellectual Property (IP) management advisory firm offering IP support solutions to Fortune 500 companies, law firms, research institutes, universities, and venture capital firms/PE firms. Our team comprises of multi-disciplinary experts with rich experience in handling complex patent assignments in such domains as Alternative Energy, Automotive and Aerospace, Biomedical, etc. Effectual Services has technical and legal experts to handle every conceivable technology or situation and support at every stage of patent life cycle from drafting and prosecution to enforcement and litigation. Our firm’s clientele ranges from IP law firms, general law firms, patent licensing firms, patent brokers, legal departments at mid-sized companies, multinational conglomerates, research institutions and includes university and venture capital backed clients. We help our clients improve their business effectiveness and maximize ROI by leveraging deep domain expertise, engineering excellence, rock-solid execution and a comprehensive delivery model.

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