Friday, December 18, 2015

New Patent for PCM Technology

TrovaGene, Inc.(TROV), a developer of cell-free molecular diagnostics, on December 16, 2015 announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued Patent No 9,163,229 B2 entitled "Compositions, Methods and Kits for Isolating Nucleic Acids from Body Fluids Using Anion Exchange Media." This patent involves the methods for rapid separation, isolation of systemically derived cDNA, and purification of nucleic acids from urine samples using anion exchange media.

This new patent granted by the U.S Patent and Trademark Office, considerably boosts TrovaGene's intellectual property related to its Precision Cancer Monitoring (PCM) technology. Trovagene now has 87 patents issued and 61 patent applications pending in the U.S. and internationally. Of these, 59 issued patents are related to Trovagene's Precision Cancer Monitoring technology and the detection of cell free nucleic acids in bodily fluids.

Monday, December 14, 2015


Vandals have damaged a building housing Facebook's offices in Hamburg, smashing glass, throwing paint and spraying "Facebook dislike" on a wall, police in the northern German city said on Sunday.

The overnight attack on the social networking group was carried out by a group of 15-20 people wearing black clothes and hoods, police said in a statement. An investigation had been launched.

A Facebook spokesman said nobody was injured in the incident. He said he could not immediately comment on the possible motive for the act of vandalism.

The European head of Facebook is under investigation in Germany over the social network's alleged failure to remove racist hate speech.The investigation was announced last month as German politicians and celebrities voiced concern about the rise of anti-foreigner comments in German on Facebook and other social media as the country struggles to cope with a refugee influx.

Martin Ott, Facebook's managing director for northern, central and eastern Europe based in Hamburg, may be held responsible for the social platform's failure to remove hate speech, a spokeswoman for the prosecution said last month.

A Facebook spokesperson last month declined to comment on the investigation, adding "we can say that the allegations lack merit and there has been no violation of German law by Facebook or its employees."

Facebook has a partnership with a group called FSM, which monitors multimedia service providers on a voluntary basis, and has said it would encourage its users to push back against racism.

- Monidipa Sengupta

Monday, December 7, 2015


Patents are territorially limited. In order to protect one’s inventions in multiple countries one has these options:-
1.      Paris Convention
2.      PCT fiing

·         The PCT is an international treaty with more than 145 Contracting States.
·         The PCT makes it possible to seek patent protection for an invention simultaneously in a large number of countries by filing a single “international” patent application instead of filing several separate national or regional patent applications.
·         The granting of patents remains under the control of the national or regional patent Offices in what is called the “national phase”.
·         The purpose of the PCT is to streamline the initial filing process, making it easier and initially cheaper to file a patent application in a large number of countries.
·         By filing through the PCT process one can embark on the path to seek patent protection for an invention simultaneously in every country that is a member to the Treaty.
·         The PCT application may be filed at:
Ø  National patent office of the Contracting States
Ø  International bureau of WIPO, Geneva
Ø  African Regional Industrial Property Organisation(ARIPO)
Ø  European patent Office(EPO)
Ø  Eurasian Patent Office(EAPO)
·         An international patent application may be filed by anyone who is a national or resident of a Member Country.
·         An international patent application has the effect of a national patent application (and certain regional patent applications) in or for all PCT Contracting States, provided that it complies with the minimum requirements for obtaining an international filing date.

The PCT procedure consists of the following steps:
(i) Filing of international application in a Receiving Office (RO)
(ii) International Search by an International Searching Authority (ISA)
(iii) International Preliminary Examination by an International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA)
An international patent application is filed with national patent Office, or directly with WIPO if permitted by one’s State’s national security provisions. These Offices act as PCT “receiving Offices”. A National/ Resident of a country which is party to the ARIPO Harare Protocol, the OAPI Bangui Agreement, the Eurasian Patent Convention or the European Patent Convention, may alternatively file the international patent application with the regional patent Office concerned, if permitted by the applicable national law.

Nationals/Residents of India can file an international application with the Indian Patent Office at Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi or Kolkata as the Receiving Office or The International Bureau of WIPO as the Receiving Office. An applicant can file up to 10 claims in a PCT application.
A request form must be filed in English or Hindi (PCT/RO/01) needs to be accompanied by :-
·         Description,
·         Claims,
·         Abstract,
·         Drawings.
The international application must be filed in triplicate. The Regional Office keeps one copy of international application for record named ‘Home Copy’ RO sends one copy of international application to International Bureau (IB) of WIPO named ‘Record Copy’ RO sends one copy of international application to the International Searching Authority (ISA) named the ‘Search Copy’
Fees pertaining to the application are of three types and must be paid within a month from the date of its receipt.
·         Transmittal fee
·         International Filing Fee
·         Search fee
The International Filing Date is considered to be the actual filing date in each country designated in the Request. The Receiving Office India (RO/IN) accords as the international filing date the date of receipt of the international application, after the following checks:
(i)                 the applicant is a resident/national of India,
(ii)               the international application is in English or Hindi,
(iii)             The international application contains at least the following element
·         an indication that it is intended as an international application,
·         the designation of at least one Contracting State,
·         the name of the applicant, as prescribed,
·         a part which on the face of it appears to be a description,
·         a part which on the face of it appears to be a claim or claims.
PCT applications are mostly filed electronically. PCT applications can be filed electronically with any competent receiving Offices which accepts such filings. Preparing the PCT application using the WIPO web service (ePCTfiling) or the software provided by WIPO (PCT-SAFE) helps to prepare your applications by automatically validating the entered data and drawing your attention to incorrectly or inconsistently completed parts. Manage applications are easier in the electronic process, for example, with monitoring time limits for relevant actions. Certain PCT fee reductions are allowed when filing electronically. More details about PCT electronic filing can be found at

Every international application is subject to international search by an International Searching Authority  (ISA). An applicant may opt for international preliminary examination by an International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA). A few Patent offices in the world have been recognized by the WIPO to function as International Search Authority and International Preliminary Examining Authority under the PCT. The Indian Patent Office (presently, the Delhi branch) started functioning as ISA/IPEA from 2013.
An applicant from India can choose any one of the following ISA/IPEA for international search and preliminary examination Indian Patent Office
·         Australian Patent Office
·         Austrian Patent Office
·         European Patent Office
·         State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China
·         Swedish Patent and Registration Office
·         United States Patent and Trademark Office
A PCT international search is a high quality search of the relevant patent documents and other technical literature. It is in those languages in which most patent applications are filed (Chinese, English, German and Japanese, and in certain cases, French, Korean, Russian and Spanish). The high quality of the search is assured by the standards prescribed in the PCT for the documentation to be consulted, and by the qualified staff and uniform search methods of the ISAs, which are all experienced patent Offices.
The results are published in an international search report and a written opinion of the ISA on the potential patentability of the invention. The international search report consists mainly of a listing of references to published patent documents and technical journal articles which might affect the patentability of the invention disclosed in the international application. The report enables one to evaluate chances of obtaining patents in PCT Contracting States.
The international application along with, the International Search Reports are published by the WIPO after expiry of 18months from the priority date of the application.
After establishment of ISR and publication by WIPO, the applicant may opt for International Preliminary Examination (IPE). IPEA establishes International Preliminary Report on Patentability (IPRP). If the applicant does not opt for IPE, the International Bureau of WIPO publishes the Written Opinion of the Search Authority as International Preliminary Report on Patentability.
IPE is optional. If an applicant opts for IPE, there are two kinds of fees payable:
·         Preliminary Examination Fees
·         Handling fee (for Indian applicants is 221 USD).


After the end of the PCT procedure, either after international search or after international preliminary examination and before 30/ 31 months from the priority date , applications for the grant of patents can be filed before the national (or regional) patent offices of the countries in which patent protection is desired. The filing procedure fee and processing are as per the requirements of national law relating to patents in each country. The filing date is the international filing date in all such countries. For grant of patent in India, the applicant has to file a national phase application in India before the expiry of 31 months from the priority date of the application. The international application as filed under the PCT is treated as corresponding application in India.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Protecting Plant Varieties

Plant variety rights are a form of intellectual property protection granted to breeders of new varieties of plants. In a very general sense, a plant variety is a strain of a plant (or, more often, a crop) that is a pure breed. In other words, for a plant variety to be protected, it must produce the same type of plant in every generation, and should be distinct in appearance and distinguishable from others. Plant variety rights include, inter alia, royalty rights over a certain identified time period and restrictions on the propagation and subsequent use of seeds derived from such varieties.
The protection of plant varieties around the world is guided by Article 27(3)(b) of the World Trade Organisation’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). The Article mandates states to protect plant varieties, while allowing them the flexibility to choose between a pure patent system, a unique protection system of its own kind (sui generis), or a combination of the two.
Given the TRIPs requirement, India designed a sui generis legislation entitled the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001. The PPV&FR Authority was created under the aegis of this Act, as the implementing authority in this legislation, with central operations in Delhi, and expansion proposals on the table.
However, while the number of applications is fairly large, it is important to note that not all of them are not in acceptable format. For example, there are applications which are not accompanied by seed, which is required by law in some categories, which have been automatically treated as ‘dropouts’.
The largest number of applications have been for ‘extant varieties, which under the Act, may be of four types, namely:
  •       those varieties that are already notified under the Seed Act, 1966;
  •     Farmers’ Variety (FV) – The definition of ‘farmers’ variety’ is contentious and still in process. According to the Chairperson, there lies here a potential project for institutions to document FVs, especially rice, which is an Indian variety and under threat from MNCs;
  •       ‘Variety of Common Knowledge’, which are protected under the PPVF&R Act; or
  •         any other variety which is in the public domain.
The Authority also publishes the monthly Plant Variety Journal of India which serves as the Gazette for this Act. There is the stipulated 90 days opposition period for applications received, after which the process of registration may begin, and involves the submission of a fee and seed samples for the Gene Bank.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Overview of Geographical Indication Registration in India

The Geographical Indication Act, 1999 in India has been instrumental in the extension of GI status to many goods so far. The Central Government has established the Geographical Indications Registry with all India jurisdictions, at Chennai, where right-holders can register their geographical indications. Unlike TRIPS, the Act does not restrict its special protection to wines and spirits alone. The Central Government has the discretion to decide which products should be accorded higher levels of protection.  This approach has deliberately been taken by the drafters of the Act with the aim of providing stringent protection as guaranteed under the TRIPS Agreement to geographical indications of Indian origin. However, other WTO members are not obligated to ensure Article 23-type protection to all Indian geographical indications, thereby leaving room for their misappropriation in the international arena.

India’s Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, has been in effect since September 2003. To date, there are 236 geographical indications registered in India. The Geographical Indication Registry conducts regular awareness-creation workshops in various parts of India to educate stakeholders about the availability of such protection for the various geographical indications in relevant regions.

As a developing country, India is in the nascent stages of geographical indication protection, and because of this the government plays a more active role in the protection process. With the provisions of the GI Act permitting government bodies to become applicants, it is easier for the Indian government to support producers of the indications by protecting the indications and helping producers gain market access for their goods.
Since the first Indian geographical indication registration in 2004, 236 geographical indications have been registered with the GI Registry of India. Of these, more than half (64%) are handicrafts, more than one fourth (26%) are agricultural products, and the remaining are food and manufacturing products.

The trend of GI registration has been mostly upward with the maximum number of products registered in the year 2008 – 2009. While handicrafts have been the most registered GIs consistently, agricultural and manufactured products are increasingly being protected under the Act over the past few years. Food products, a more recent addition in the registered GI basket of India, was first granted protection in 2008 – 2009 when Dharwad Pedha from Karnataka was granted the status of a registered GI product. The recent increase in manufactured products being registered as a geographical indication can be partially attributed to more foreign products being registered at the Indian GI Registry.

Since 2009, six foreign products have been registered as geographical indications within the territory of India. These are Champagne and Cognac from France, Scotch Whiskey from the United Kingdom, Napa Valley wines from the United States of America, Douro wine from Portugal, Peruvian Pisco from Peru and Prosciutto di Parma from Italy.

As of date, the Southern states of India have bagged the maximum number of registered Geographical Indications. The state of Karnataka has been the forerunner in registration of GIs followed by the states of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The spread of geographical indications’ recognition is concentrated in the southern states. Products from other states are getting registered now. At the same time many states, which have several traditional varieties of agricultural products or handicrafts, are not forthcoming in applying for GIs. There are only three geographical indications from all of north east India and none from Uttarakhand. The states of Punjab and Haryana have no geographical indication either except for a joint geographical indication on Phulkari embroidery along with Rajasthan. Phulkari is the only geographical indication in India which covers more than one state.

- Monidipa Sengupta