Elizabeth Fry, the renowned English prison reformer once famously quoted that, “Punishment is not for revenge, but to lessen crime and reform the criminal”. As is true in contemporary times, the sophisticated means to diplomatically undo a wrong-doing by a person is extended in all of the major aspects of law-making processes.
In India, chapter XX of the Patents Act, 1970, deals with the provisions of penalties for various acts performed therein. Various parameters have been laid down by the Patent office to impose penalties on any act which were forbidden by the patent law. If found guilty for an impermissible act, a person may be penalized in the form of either fine, imprisonment or both at times.
Section 118 – provides that any person failing to comply with any secrecy direction given under section 35 or making or causing to be made an application for the grant of a patent outside India in contravention of section 39 shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
Section 119 – states that if any person makes, or causes to be made, a false entry in any register kept under this Act, or a writing falsely purporting to be a copy of an entry in such a register, or produces or tenders, or causes to be produced or tendered, in evidence any such writing knowing the entry or writing to be false, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
Section 120 – provides that any person falsely representing that any article sold by him is patented in India or is the subject of an application for a patent in India shall be punishable with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees. A person shall be deemed to represent that an article is patented in India or it is the subject of an application for a patent in India in following cases –
- if there is stamped, engraved or impressed on, or otherwise applied to, the article the word “patent” or “patented” or some other word expressing or implying that a patent for the article has been obtained in India;
if there are stamped, engraved or impressed on, or otherwise applied to, the article the words “patent applied for”, “patent pending”, or some other words implying that an application for a patent for the article has been made in India.
Section 121 – provides that if any person uses on his place of business or any document issued by him or otherwise the words “patent office” or any other words which would reasonably lead to the belief that his place of business is, or is officially connected with, the patent office, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.
Section 122 – states that any person refusing or failing to furnish the below information shall be punishable with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees –
- any information required to be furnished under sub-section (5) of section 100 to the Central Government;
- any information or statement required to be furnished by or under section 146 to the Controller,
Moreover, if any person furnishes any information or statement which is false, and which he either knows or has reason to believe to be false or does not believe to be true, shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.
Section 123 – states that any person contravening with the restrictions on practice as patent agents as per section 129 shall be punishable with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees in the case of a first offence and five lakh rupees in the case of a second or subsequent offence.
Section 124 – provides for punishments for offences committed by companies. In particular, “company” means any body corporate and includes a firm or other association of individuals; and “director”, in relation to a firm, means a partner in the firm.
- If the person committing an offence under this Act is a company, the company as well as every person in charge of, and responsible to, the company for the conduct of its business at the time of the commission of the offence shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly. However, if such person liable to punishment proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence, he shall not be liable to punishment.
- If the has been committed by a company and it is proved that the offence has been committed with the consent or connivance of, or that the commission of the offence is attributable to any neglect on the part of any director, manager, secretary or other officer of the company, such director, manager, secretary or other officer shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.
The provisions related to penalty are incorporated in the Patents Act, 1970 to safeguard and preserve the rights of the patentee. Moreover, the penal consequences are important for the larger interest of the society and the patentee to ensure respect for the patent regime, thereby making it robust and equitable at the global stage.