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Case Analysis and Patent Laws

In this work one can find a detailed case study of the case Press metal corporation vs Noshir Sorabji Pochkhanawalla[1], with my personal analysis on the judgement of the case. This written work firstly explains about Patent, some questions like:
  1. What is Patent?
  2. Where does it find its root from?
  3. Which law governs matter related to patent? Or
  4.  Is Patent recognised globally?
Patent in today's world hold a greater importance, as compared to early days when only handful of people were aware about it. Nowadays, having Patent is not only a way to protect one's creation but also a way to improve their CV for work places. Hence it can be safely concluded that day by day the increasing competition has made it a necessity, which one should have.

Patent becoming more and more popular these days, it is very obvious not only for a law student but also for a common person to search about patents. And to know more about patent one must refer to cases dealing with the different aspects of patent. One such case is Press metal corporation vs Noshir Sorabji Pochkhanawalla, which majorly deals with prior publication and vague description of the invention.

This paper not only describes about this case, but also mentions about other cases in which Press metal corporation vs Noshir Sorabji Pochkhanawalla was used as a precedent. According to the Common Law System it common for the judges to use past cases as a precedence, this case is also no exception to it.

So, to understand deeply about this case we must start understanding from the basic.

After the arrival of the most awaited COVID vaccine, we all heard the cries for patent from the inventors. Every day at least one news in a day used to come about inventors asking for patent protection for their vaccine. Even though everyone was denied patent, it made the common people curios about what exactly is patent? Now to explain what is patent, section 2 (1) (m)[2] of the Patents Act of 1970 defines patent.

But to understand patent, one must know about where it originated from? The to this question is IPR or Intellectual Property Rights, as the name suggest property related to intellect. So, basically IPR protects properties which formed due to intellect of the person. Its legality can be explained through the laws provided in constitution related to property. Earlier, before 44th amendment of Indian Constitution in 1978, the Right to Property mentioned under Article 19 (1) (f)[3] protected matters related to IPR.

Later on, right to property became constitution right given under Article 300A[4] of the Indian Constitution 1950. WTO or World Trade Organisation has also introduced an agreement named as TRIPS, Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. This is a basic agreement which talks about all the areas of IPR including patent, it gives the minimum standard that a country should follow. Currently, India is following the standards set by TRIPS.

So, patent a part of IPR can also be treated as a property, being protected under 300A of Indian Constitution 1950. This property (IPR) can be tangible as well as intangible, meaning some IP can be touched and felt but some cannot be. But still all of them are protected under the IP Laws, as long as they meet the essentials as described in the section in their respective Act.

What is Patent?
It can be defined as a tool given to the inventors to protect their novel work, from being copied or used for economic purpose.

For being a patent holder for one's invention, the invention must have following criteria:
  1. Novelty:
    The invented item must be new, meaning it should not be the result of copying of some already existing thing. Otherwise, it would defy the sole purpose of having Intellectual Property Laws, which is to promote creativity.
  2. Non-Obvious:
    The product must be inventive in nature, meaning it should not be a result of common thinking or knowledge from a layman's perspective.
  3. Utility:
    The is provided to only those creators whose work has some industrial value in the present world.
After fulfilling these criteria, the inventor can apply for a patent, and just like any other IPR patent also has a tenure which is of 20 years. The tenure starts from the date of the issue of the patent certificate from the Registrar, till the completion of 20 years. While filing for a patent, the inventor has to disclose about the invention in detail.

This step is required in order for the rest of the world to benefit from the invention or, to commercialize it after the completion of the tenure. As it can be derived from the procedure, receiving a patent is a quid pro quo situation in which the inventor receives the protection of law for its invention in exchange for the knowledge of the product.

Case Study:
Press metal corporation vs Noshir Sorabji Pochkhanawalla
This is a case related to the Patent section of the IPR, in this case Press metal corporation is the petitioner whereas Noshir Sorabji Pochkhanawalla is the Respondent. This case along with many other issues, deals with the vague explanation of invention on the application of patent.

This case became one of the prominently referred case due to the issue of vague explanation of invention, court in this case has defined the purpose as well as importance of the description of the invention. Now to begin with the facts of the case:

In this case the respondent Noshir Sorabji, filed an application for his invention relating to a Muffler or Exhaust Silencer. The Controller accepted the application and wrote down about it in the Gazette of India. The petitioner got to know about the invention through the Gazette of India where it was published by the Controller. Petitioner filed a case under Section 25 (1) (b)[5] of the Patents Act, 1970 in court of law.

Later on, Noshir Sorabji died, and as he stated in his Will, the Executor became 1st Respondent. The final judgement of this case came directly from the Bombay High Court, ruling in favour of the Petitioner. The court held that Respondent cannot receive the Patent, because the description Respondent gave in the application about his invention is vague.

  1. The first claim of the Petitioner is that the information related to the invention in question, has already been published. According to the Respondent the Muffler (invention in question) making technique has already been published in a journal, before the Respondent filed for the Patent for it. Section 29 (1)[6] of Patent Act 1970, clearly states that if an invention got published before the filing of the application of Patent, then it will get rejected. This section ensures the novelty of the invention that is being registered.
  2. The second claim of Petitioner is that, the invention was publicly known to most of the people in related sector of automobiles. Section 25 (1) (d)[7] of the Patent Act 1970, states that if the invention was publicly used before the filing of the Patent, then it is a ground for refusal of the Patent. According to Section 64 (1) (e)[8] of the Patent Act 1970, if the invention does not fall under the criteria of novelty, it will not receive the Patent.
  3. The third claim by the Petitioner is that the invention was obvious in nature, and there was no inventive step in it. Section 2 (ja)[9] of the Patent Act 1970, it states that the invention must be non-obvious in nature.

    The purpose of Patent is to initiate creativity among the people, and to ensure creativity among individual such a requirement is necessary. This section also states about the invention to have some economic value in the market.
  4. The fourth claim of the Petitioner is that the Patent application of the invention, does not clearly define about the invention. Proper disclosure of the invention being filed for patent, is essential under section 10 (4) of Patent Act 1970[10]. This step is required in acquiring the Patent, just to check if the invention is novel in nature or not. The Controller publishes about the invention being filed on the Gazette of India, where people can see and report in case of IPR infringement.

The case was decided in the Bombay High Court, the judges held that the Respondent will not be granted the Patent. The judges sustained all the above-mentioned grounds of refusal of Patent, given by the Petitioner.

Precedent For
Now, we will get to know about more such cases in which this case was used as a precedent. This case was used in a lot of cases as a precedent, the Respondent in this Noshir Sorabji, was unable to prove the novelty of the invention. The court held in this case that the Controller was in error to allow the invention for Patent. This case not only talks about the prior publication, but also about the vague description of the invention.

Following are the names of such cases:
  1. Ravi Raj Gupta. V. Acme Glass Mosaic Industries
    In the above-mentioned case, Plaintiff Ravi Raj Gupta filed a case against the defendant Acme Glass Mosaic Industries. The plaintiff claimed Patent Infringement, whereas the defendant questioned the legality of the Patent. According to the Defendant the idea for which the plaintiff acquired the Patent is a Well- Process, which is being followed by almost everyone in the same industry. Hence not fulfilling the novel or non- obvious essentials for receiving the patent. Press metal corporation vs Noshir Sorabji, this case was used as precedent for not fulfilling the essential of non-obvious in an invention.
  2. Alleppy Company LTD. V. Controller of Patent
    In this case the Petitioner filed a case in court of law, against the Controller of Patent. The case arose because, the Controller of Patent allowed the application of the Coir industry field for the Patent of a mat. The mat was a Coir mat having non-skid rubber backing but it was in use since1970. Press metal corporation vs Noshir Sorabji was used in this as a precedent, for prior use of the invention even before filing the application for Patent.
  3. Elite Equipment (India) PVT. LTD. V. Sampath Ramesh
    The petitioner in this case is, Elite Equipment whereas the Respondent is Sampath Ramesh. The filed the case against the Respondent because his invention does not fulfil the essentials of Patent, described in the Patent Act 1970. The Respondent invented a pizza screen (used in making pizza), the Petitioner claimed this invention to be in use since 1992. After hearing this the Respondent said it is different and a special pizza screen, to which the Respondent replied it is not clear with the process described by the Petitioner.

    The court held the precedence of Press metal corporation vs Noshir Sorabji in this case and stated, it is the duty of the inventor to properly describe about the invention. The inventions which are not being described clearly will be subject to rejection for the Patent.

In the case of Press metal corporation vs Noshir Sorabji, the invention submitted by the Respondent, Noshir Sorabji Pochkhanawalla has already been published in two books. Also, the subject of Patent the invention, was in public use for a long period of time. Since the "invention" as claimed by the Respondent, was known to all. Not only this, the invention was obvious in nature and also vaguely explained in the application.

The court asked again and again the Respondent to provide with evidence, to show his invention was novel and different from those shown by the Petitioner. But despite giving more time the Respondent was unable to provide the court with the evidence. Keeping all these points in mind, it is very accurate to not provide the Respondent with the Patent. The main idea behind the Patent or any other IP law, is to promote creativity among the individuals. If the sole purpose of the Patent is not being fulfilled, then how can an individual claim the rights of Patent.

  1. AIR 1983 Bom 144, the citation for the above-mentioned case.
  2. Section 2(1)(m) "patent" means a patent for any invention granted under this Act, which is Patent Act 1970
  3. Article 19 (1) (f)- Right to Property under the Indian Constitution 1950, later on omitted after the 44th amendment in 1978.
  4. Article 300A- No person shall be deprived of his property save by the authority of law.
  5. Section 25 (1) (b) of the Patent Act 1970- that the invention so far as claimed in any claim of the complete specification has been published before the priority date of the claim:
    1. In any specification filed in pursuance of an application for a patent made in India on or after the 1st day of January, 1912; or;
    2. In India or elsewhere, in any other document: Provided that the ground specified in sub-clause (ii) shall not be available where such publication does not constitute an anticipation of the invention by virtue of sub-section (2) or sub-section (3) of section 29
  6. Section 29 (1)- An invention claimed in a complete specification shall not be deemed to have been anticipated by reason only that the invention was published in a specification filed in pursuance of an application for a patent made in India and dated before the 1st day of January, 1912.
  7. Section 25 (1) (d) of the Patent Act 1970- that the invention so far as claimed in any claim of the complete specification was publicly known or publicly used in India before the priority date of that claim. Explanation. -For the purposes of this clause, an invention relating to a process for which a patent is claimed shall be deemed to have been publicly known or publicly used in India before the priority date of the claim if a product made by that process had already been imported into India before that date except where such importation has been for the purpose of reasonable trial or experiment only.
  8. Section 64 (1) (e) of the Patent Act 1970- that the invention so far as claimed in any claim of the complete specification is not new, having regard to what was publicly known or publicly used in India before the priority date of the claim or to what was published in India or elsewhere in any of the documents.
  9.  Section 2 (ja) of Patent Act 1970- "inventive step" means a feature of an invention that involves technical advance as compared to the existing knowledge or having economic significance or both and that makes the invention not obvious to a person skilled in the art
  10. Every complete specification shall:
    1. fully and particularly describe the invention and its operation or use and the method by which it is to be performed;
    2. disclose the best method of performing the invention which is known to the applicant and for which he is entitled to claim protection; and
    3. end with a claim or claims defining the scope of the invention for which protection is claimed;
    4. 41 [(d) be accompanied by an abstract to provide technical information on the invention

      Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Kumari Manshi
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