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The Interplay Between Priority Dates and Publication Dates in Patent Law

This article delves into the intricate relationship between priority dates and publication dates in patent law, drawing insights from a notable case before the Hon'ble High Court of Madras concerning the Patent Application "FILM FOR PLANT CULTIVATION." The case, involving the rejection of Patent Application No.2394/CHENP/2013, explores the pivotal question of whether a cited prior art, D2, with a publication date subsequent to the claimed priority date, should be considered as prior art.

The determination of the validity and novelty of a patent application is significantly influenced by the interplay between its priority date and the publication dates of relevant prior art. This dynamic was brought to the forefront in the case under consideration, where the Appellant's patent application faced rejection based on the cited prior art D2.

The Appellant filed Patent Application No.2394/CHENP/2013, derived from PCT Application No.PCT/JP2011/070596, titled "FILM FOR PLANT CULTIVATION." The controller of patents issued an order on 30.12.2019 rejecting the application, prompting the Appellant to challenge this decision before the Hon'ble High Court of Madras.

Priority Date Significance:
The crux of the matter lay in the priority date of the subject matter patent application, set at 28.09.2010. The cited prior art, D2, presented a publication date of 28.10.2010, placing it chronologically after the priority date. This temporal misalignment raised a fundamental question: could D2 be deemed as prior art?

Legal Analysis:
The Hon'ble High Court of Madras engaged in a nuanced legal analysis, recognizing the fundamental principle that for a document to qualify as prior art, its publication date must precede the priority date of the claimed invention.

In this instance, the court astutely observed that the publication date of D2, being 28.10.2010, was subsequent to the priority date of 28.09.2010. Consequently, the court held that D2 did not qualify as prior art and should be disregarded in the evaluation of the patent application.

Implications and Precedent:
This decision establishes a precedent emphasizing the critical role of the priority date in determining the relevance of prior art to a patent application. The court's ruling underscores the chronological hierarchy between priority dates and publication dates, reaffirming that only documents predating the priority date can be considered as prior art.

The Concluding Note:
The case of "FILM FOR PLANT CULTIVATION" serves as a compelling illustration of the meticulous consideration required when assessing the interrelationship between priority dates and publication dates in patent law. The court's discerning analysis reaffirms the importance of temporal alignment in evaluation of patent applications.

The Case Law Discussed:
Case Title: Kuraray Co Limited Vs Assistant Controller of Patent
Date of Judgement/Order:29/11/2023
Case No. MA (PT) No.47 of 2023
Neutral Citation No:2023:Mad:5222
Name of Hon'ble Court: Madras High Court
Name of Hon'ble Judge: Senthil Kumar Ramamoorthy, HJ

Ideas, thoughts, views, informations, discussions and interpretation expressed herein are being shared in the public Interest. Readers' discretion is advised as these are subject to my subjectivity and may contain human errors in perception, interpretation and presentation of the fact and issue involved herein.

Written By: Advocate Ajay Amitabh Suman, IP Adjutor - Patent and Trademark Attorney
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9990389539

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