An International Guide to
Patent Case Management for Judges

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6.1.2 The Justice N Rajagopala Ayyangar Committee Report

In 1957, the Government of India appointed a committee led by a distinguished retired Justice of the Supreme Court of India, Justice N Rajagopala Ayyangar, to examine the revision of the Patents Act and advise the Government in this respect.

The Justice N Rajagopala Ayyangar Committee report stated, in no uncertain terms, that the patent system was a quid pro quo system: the monopoly that a patentee obtains is only in exchange for the disclosure of the invention to the public, free to be used after the monopoly period is over. The quid pro quo, according to the report, also included the obligation on the part of the patentee to work the invention in India. The report also underscored, rather emphatically, that the patent system had failed in India because it had failed to spark the kind of innovation that it sought to encourage – underdeveloped countries could not yield the same result from the patent system as their more developed counterparts could. The patent system was recommended to be continued only because there was no better alternative to achieve better results – in their form at the time, patents were the lesser evil. The report was unequivocal in its apprehension that foreign patentees could misuse the patent system to capture large markets in India at the cost of domestic innovation while simultaneously not investing in the manufacture of the patented product.

The committee’s recommendations were a catalyst for wide changes in Indian patent law, eventually leading to the Patents Act of 1970, replacing the Indian Patents and Designs Act, 1911. The Patents Bill was introduced in 1965 and amended in 1967. The Patents Act, 1970, and Patents Rules, 1972 came into force on April 20, 1972.