Victorious Lefts okay sees passage of Patents Bill

New Delhi, March 22 | Updated: Mar 23 2005, 05:30am hrs
Declaring the incorporation of 10 out of their 12 demands in the Patent (Amendment) Bill as a major achievement, the Left parties accession to the controversial Bill saw the Bill being passed in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

The areas where differences were yet to be worked out include one on definition of new entities and on micro-organisms. While the Left had demanded that that the new entities be categorised into new chemical entity (NCE) and new medical entity (NME) the government had wanted a broader definition of new entity.

On micro-organisms, while the Left was against the inclusion of micro-organisms, including bacteria and viruses in the Bill, the government wanted it included on the ground that other countries may dispute the non-inclusion.

CPI-M leaders Rupchand Pal and Nilotpal Basu told mediapersons here on Tuesday that this was the first time that the Lefts views were sought and incorporated.

We are happy. We told the government that we can support the legislation only if you accept our suggestions in the national interest, adding, however, that the objections that had been voiced prior to the amendments were not only the Lefts but also of representatives of all experts who are patriotic. Some of the inputs also came from experts from other developing countries, they said, adding that the amended Bill was a victory for all anti-iniquitous forces worldwide.

That an agreement had been worked out They said that the government had agreed to set up a committee comprising experts from scientific, technical and legal fields who would go into the two amendments suggested by the Left in a time-bound manner. After an agreement was worked out, the two remaining amendments would be incorporated in the second phase.

Announcing that it was a major achievement of the Left parties, Mr Basu said that the amended Bill would not only benefit the developing countries but also the poorer sections of people.

He said that while the Left parties were still fundamentally opposed to the global trading structure, revoking Trips and renegotiating it in an equitable fashion cannot be achieved withing the country alone.

Regarding the 10 amendments that the government had accepted, Mr Pal said these included issued relating to the definition of inventiveness, new inventions, compulsory licensing, royalty, permits to manufacture and export drugs, and the issue of retaining the pre-grant opposition instead of post-grant opposition.