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Even if India moves towards a patent-unfriendly environment for green technologies, the pro-patent and pro-environment lobbies can coexist and meet their respective goals, argue Swarup Kumar and Jitesh Kumar of Remfry & Sagar.
Mark Twain, the US writer, once said “get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please”. Green technologies and patents are at a cross-roads in India, so let’s get our green patent facts first before analysing whether they have been distorted in an endeavour to create a patent-unfriendly climate.
Amid growing concern that patents restrict access to green technologies, a section of Indian stakeholders has proposed limiting patent protection for climate-friendly technologies. The concept of weakening intellectual property (IP) rights in green technologies has garnered strength after India, partly on account of international pressure, opened the door for phasing out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in 2015 under the provisions of the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty for phasing out substances that deplete the ozone layer.
In order to protect domestic industry from an immediate impact, and to allow for a smooth transition to climate-friendly technologies, India made it a point to incorporate flexibilities in terms of choice of alternative technologies and timeframe for transitioning from HFCs to safe, technically proven, energy-efficient, economically viable, environmentally friendly and commercially available technologies. Unfortunately, some stakeholders have found the above flexibilities inadequate and are vying for implementation of more stringent norms to protect and, perhaps, encourage domestic industry.
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Swarup Kumar, Jitesh Kumar, Remfry & Sagar, TRIPS agreement, HFCs, green tech, patent,