Swarup Kumar reports on this year’s FICPI-India roundtables and visits of the FICPI-International delegates to India.
As is the tradition, FICPI-India Roundtables took place this year in Mumbai as well as in New Delhi, which coincided with the visit of FICPI-International Delegates to India. Before the Symposium in Mumbai, the FICPI delegates met the senior officials from the Indian Patent Office on 20th November and discussed various critical topics on IP and general issues including those concerning IP practitioners in private practice.Welcome, introduction and update The Symposiums in Mumbai as well as New Delhi formally began with the Secretary of FICPI-India, Mr Swarup Kumar, welcoming everyone and introducing the foreign delegates to the audience. The President of FICPI-India, Ms Archana Shanker, briefly updated the audience on the work done by FICPI-India in the past years. Thereafter, Julian Crump, President of FICPI and Ms Elia Sugrañes, Deputy Secretary General of FICPI made enthralling presentations on “What is FICPI?”. They introduced the audience to FICPI International, what it does, its core activities, the events and meetings it engages in with various organisations including WIPO, USPTO, EPO, IPO, JPO etc., as well as presenting a glimpse of FICPI’s upcoming events. They emphasised the value that FICPI adds to IP professionals in private practice. Presentations: FICPI delegates made presentations on two varied topics, which evoked substantial interest both in Mumbai as well as in New Delhi. The presentation on “Patent dance” by Dr. Sharon Crane, Chair, CET 5, was very well received by the attendees. In view of its informative nature and sprinkling of humour in the slides, the audience remained glued to the screen during the presentation. A few questions were directed to Sharon by the audience (both in Mumbai and Delhi), which were answered aptly by her. The presentation by Mr. Robert Watson, Vice-President, CET was cherished by the attendees, who were keen to understand the potentially damaging implications of not extending “Client attorney privilege” (CAP) to Indian Patent Agents and to foreign attorneys. The comparative study of what is transpiring in different jurisdictions including in India on CAP kept the audience engaged. This was followed by a couple of questions and comments from the audience. Panel discussion Mumbai: The tradition of having panel discussions (in lieu of solo presentations) in the FICPI-India Symposiums, first introduced in 2017, was continued this year. The panel discussion in Mumbai titled “Challenges in patenting ICT inventions in India”, moderated by Mr. Subhotosh Majumdar, Member, FICPI-India appeared to catch the imagination of the audience. The session included esteemed members of the IP fraternity and industry as co-panellists. Ms Taruna Gupta from TCS talked about how her team is evolving to deal with challenges thrown at them while drafting and prosecuting ICT-related inventions in India and abroad. Mr. Gaourang Yaday, on the other hand, discussed the nuances of claim drafting and implications of usage from certain expressions in claim language. Mr. Riten Muni discussed his first hand experiences in dealing with prosecutions and hearings of ICT-related patent applications at the IPO. The session was followed by a healthy discussion on the topics and the attendees participated enthusiastically in the discussions. Panel discussions New Delhi: The New Delhi Symposium included two high quality panel discussions on diverse topics. The first panel discussion related to “Challenges in patenting biotech inventions in India”, was moderated by Dr. Malati Lakshmikumaran, Member, FICPI-India and was well received by the audience. While Dr. Archana Chugh from IIT talked about synthetic biology, Dr. Neeti Wilson, discussed bioengineering and personalised medicine. Dr. Deepa Tiku talked about CRISPR/CAS technology and the fourth panellist, Dr. K. C. Bansal, discussed the scope of nano-technology in the biotech space. This session followed a short but very enthusiastic discussion on the topic. The second panel discussion was about “Challenges in patenting ICT inventions in India” and was moderated by Mr Essenese Obhan, Member, FICPI-India. Dr. Ajai Garg of Meity observed that software-related guidelines issued by the IPO have evolved over a period of time and it now looks quite progressive, largely because the requirement for hardware modification is no longer a prerequisite. Mr. Nishant Sharma of Dolby discussed the nuances of Section 3 (K) of the India Patents Act and its implications for patent prosecution and drafting. Mr. Rajiv Bhatnagar, senior patent agent and inventor discussed how patent specifications could be tailored to include, if feasible, hardware features. In addition, the panel discussed the need for guidelines for patenting AI-related inventions. The session was followed by a short but healthy discussion, in which the attendees participated with interest and fervour. Vote of thanks: Mr. Calab Gabriel, Vice-President, FICPI-India and Ms Neha Chugh, Treasurer, FICPI-India were very eloquent in thanking all the speakers and co-panellists for the presentations made and the views shared by them in Mumbai and New Delhi, respectively. Befitting the Indian tradition, flower bouquet, garlands and/or gifts were presented to FICPI-Delegates by office bearers and members of FICPI-India to honour them. The attendees then had the opportunity to network amongst themselves and with the foreign delegates during the high tea, which followed the presentations. Everybody left the event on a high note. FICPI’s view and involvement FICPI’s Indian national section is a vibrant group with around 40 members, which organises regular high quality IP events for members in Mumbai and New Delhi. FICPI-India members are also active in FICPI’s CET 8 Study & Work Committee for Asian Issues, established in 2015 and which brings together members from countries such as China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Macao, and Republic of Korea over their strong shared interest in how independent IP attorneys can help organisations protect and build value in their IP assets. Next steps