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Lucidity in 'patented' complexities

MARCH 21, 2006

Evolution of Patent Laws

By DN Choudhary

Published by Capital Law House
Rs 450 (US$ 50; UK ' 40)
Pages : 476

IT is now well acknowledged that Patent laws and issues related to Intellectual Property Right (IPR) are equally important issues as every other trade related matter, which is being discussed today in the WTO platform. IPRs are no more a simple neutral legal incentive for the promotion of economic development as the scope and importance of IPR has dramatically expanded in last 10-15 years. And this expansion has in fact taken IPRs away from the exclusive realm of specialists, which in turn has given rise to number of books, and one of them being D N Choudhary's Evolution of Patent Laws , but with a difference. And it is not just a clich'.

Somehow most of the books published (with very few exceptions) are without proper interpretation of various provisions under Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and various Conventions of a given country (or group of countries).

The reason of this void interpretation of TRIPS is that the ramifications of the laws are so wide that those have the potential to influence the ongoing debate which are in turn affected by so many rules and conventions such as Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), international Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), The Desert Convention etc.

All these complexities are further complicated as these directly impacts on human rights as IPR in agriculture and health has direct consequences with regard to meeting basic food and health needs of the poor.

In view of such diversity one would find Mr Choudhary's maiden venture, a book in totality. The fifteen chapters, (starting from a simple definition of Patent and ending with explaining aspects of traditional knowledge-TK) is satisfying in terms of explanations of TRIPs, WTO, WIPO and several conventions.

What will catch the reader's attention in the book is the continuity of ideas and originality of thoughts and expressions. It has recognized the salutary features of TRIPS and at the same time criticised its failures from the perspective of a developing country. In one of its chapters - on IP standard-setting by developed & developing countries - it has also analysed various issues from the eyes a political scientist, which was well complemented by the anthropological analysis in the fifteenth chapter on Traditional Knowledge.

The interweaving of some complex subjects seems to be the work of a literature student who is working full time with WIPO or WTO etc. But surprisingly Evolution of Patent Laws , is work of an IIT Kanpur alumnus, who joined Indian Revenue Services in 1993 and presently a Joint Commissioner in Customs and Excise.

Choudhary is shortly leaving for top law school in USA for LLM programme in Patent Laws and that in fact shows how dedicated he is about the subject that he completed the book in record time of six month and that too without leaving any possible subject in the IP matters. Well all these facts are actually the testimonial of Mr Choudhary's association and interest in the subject, which inspired him to write such a refined and clear literature on a rather complex subject. TIOL wishes him all the best for his knowledge-enriching pursuit.

(The views expressed are personal of the author)


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