Patent Law Declared by the Supreme Court of India


  • Aqa Raza Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat — 131 001, Haryana, India
  • Ghayur Alam National Law Institute University, Bhopal — 462 044, Madhya Pradesh, India



Patent, Supreme Court of India, Law Declared, The Indian Patents and Designs Act, 1911, The Patents Act, 1970, Bench, Article 141, Constitution of India, Intended Meaning, Constructed Meaning, Constituent Assembly Debate, Infringement, Revocation, License, Pre-grant Opposition, Exclusive Marketing Rights, Interpretation-Construction, Counter-claims, Controller of Patents


The Supreme Court of India (hereinafter, the Supreme Court) does not merely decide a lis in personam but also
declares the law on a question that it decides to answer. The law so declared by the Supreme Court becomes binding in rem
by virtue of Article 141 of the Constitution of India. Since the establishment of the Supreme Court, only three cases were
decided in the 20th century on The Patents Act, 1970 including one under The Patents and Designs Act, 1911, and in 21st
century only eleven cases have been decided under The Patents Act. Number of decisions per year is not even one. On an
average, the Court has decided, 19 cases in a year; or one patent case in 1893.57 days, or in 5.18 years. Hence, only few
questions of patent law have been answered. Many patent law questions still remain unanswered. This raises a two-fold
problem. One, answers are not only too little but some of them are too ambiguous, too opaque and too vague. Two, absence
of answer on certain basic points of patent law further heightens the problem of legal uncertainty and opacity. A review of
decisions on the patent law reveals that: (i) the Court has declared patent law only in ten decisions; (ii) in no decision the
validity of The Patents Act, 1970, was challenged; (iii) the Court has unanimously answered the questions of patent law; and
(iv) only some of the questions of patent law have been answered by the Supreme Court unambiguously and unequivocally
but some of the questions of patent law have been left open by the Court. This Paper identifies the intended and interpretedconstructed
meaning of ‘Law Declared’ and seeks to cull out the principles of patent law as declared by the Supreme Court
in the last 72 years.