Amendment to intellectual property laws to revoke power from Custom Authorities

The union ministry on finance has amended the Intellectual Property laws to revoke the power vested in the hands of the customs authorities. The Custom authorities were previously authorised to size imported products based on the complaints of patent infringements. After the passage of such a law it is not possible to do so.

It has been enforced that the word ‘ patent as defined in the Patents Act, 1970’ has been removed from the definition of “intellectual property”. The amendment also removed the Patents Act, 1970 from the definition of Intellectual property law.

The Customs Act, 1962 prohibited the import of those goods that infringed intellectual property. Under Section 11, the Central Government could prohibit import or export of goods that infringed patents, trademarks or copyrights, by issuing a notification. It also covered prevention of contravention of any law for the time being in force. Further, Section 111 and 113 of the same Act empowered the Customs to confiscate such imported and exported goods, respectively.

“Now, the amended law will permit the Customs authorities to cancel his patent from its records based on the order passed by the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB),” Subhatosh Majumdar, Patent Attorney and Managing Partner, S. Majumdar & Co., said.

The amendment also inserts two conditions for registration namely, (i) the right holder or his authorised representative shall inform the Commissioner of Customs at the time of giving notice about any amendment, cancellation, suspension, or revocation of the Intellectual Property Right by the authorities under the Intellectual Property Laws or any Court of Law or Appellate Board.

Another amendment incorporates further conditions the right-holder to notify the Commissioner of Customs of any amendment, cancellation, suspension or reaction that concern Intellectual Property rights, and require the Customs authorities to accordingly amend, suspend or cancel the corresponding protection provided by them.

This step was undertaken after the the mobile companies faced issues, in the previous years, with patent rights which were frequently seized by larger companies.

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