Legal experts hold conference on Copyrights law

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Mumbai, Nov 22 (UNI) Leading legal experts of the country today called for amending the existing copyright laws in order to meet the changing needs of the society.

Addressing a conference on the 'Trademarks, Copyrights&Patents' held here, Member of Prime Minister's Office (PMO's) advisory board, Dr Prabuddha Ganguli said the existing laws under Indian Patent (Amendment Act) of 2005, will have to be more precise of the basic terms like 'Inventive Steps', geographical location, software and computer programming and pre- and post-grant opposition.

''As an emerging country in the global patent scene, laws will have to be changed according to the needs of the society, and one needs to know where India stands vis-a-vis IP protection,'' he said.

He said the patent manual, especially for the pharmaceutical industry, also to need to be revised.

''Chinese laws have been world class since 1984 and IP rights are now an integral part of law courses there. In India, how many can file a good patent? The figure would be embarassing.'' Advocate and Solicitor T N Daruwalla, who represented music composer Ram Sampat against Sony Ericsson and producer Rakesh Roshan for copyrights infringement which was settled for Rs two crore in favour of the composer, said the protection of IP was an obtuse field and as simple as it seemed.

He blamed the legal system and the industry across the board for infringements over the decades. ''We don't hear too many cases because most foreign entities do not feel its worth fighting a case within our legal system, which is perceived as slow and ineffectual.

This does not mean infringement violations against India and Indian companies and artistes have not happened elswhere,'' he noted.

Advocate Manoj Menda, talking on 'Trademark and Copyrights strategies', said country's legal system to address the issue of copyrights, trademarks and protect Intellectual Property (IP) rights to emerge as a true global power.

''We have an overburdened legal system with 18 million criminal cases. Delhi has the highest number of coprights cases with 1,600 cases, followed by Mumbai. The Madras and Calcutta High Courts too have a few cases,'' he remarked.

He said though copyright and trademark rights are distinct, and could be filed in a civil or criminal court. Joint filing was also possible but only in a civil court. The concept of estimating the cost or damages was not at all developed, he added.

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