Speaker 1 - Prof. (Dr.) V. K. Ahuja (Vice Chancellor, NLU Assam)
Topic: "Intellectual Property Rights in the context of Covid-19"
Prof. V.K. Ahuja in his presentation stated that the Right to health is a human right irrespective of the government, who has to provide drugs and vaccines for COVID-19 pandemic COVID-19. There were no vaccines were available in the beginning. The Patents Act 1970 brought drug prices under control and a patent was available for 5-7 years. The TRIPS agreement provided strong protection and gave pharma companies the right to exploit patents for 20 years.
He highlighted the grant of compulsory licensing (CL), which aims to ensure that the patents do not impede the protection of public health and nutrition and the Patent Rights are not abused by the Patentee. This can be granted in three cases under the Patents Act – Sec. 84 (Ordinary circumstances), Sec. 92 (Incorporated in light of DOHA Declaration) and Sec. 92A. In 2012, India’s first compulsory license (CL) was granted to Natco Pharma Ltd. for producing a generic version of Bayer Corporation’s patented medicine, used in the treatment of Liver and Kidney cancer.
He also advised for parallel importation of the patented product from countries where it is legal (Sec. 107A) and distribution in our own country. He went on to explain that since there would not be any transfer of confidential information by the patentee, compulsory licensing would not be a good idea for COVID-19 vaccines, and it would have been much easier if the licensing had been for drugs rather than vaccines. According to him, the best way was for MNCs to collaborate, as that will not only lead to the transfer of confidential data but would also, make information available to start manufacturing.
Speaker 2 - Prof. (Dr.) Subhash Rathor (Professor & Head, Department of Environment and Legal Order, School of Law Gujarat University)
Topic: "Mapping Innovation Culture in India for Atmanirbhar Bharat"
Prof. (Dr) Subhash Rathor began his speech by expanding on the word “Atmanirbhar”, which means being Self Reliant, not only economically, but otherwise also. He stressed the importance of innovation by referring to Darwin’s Theory, as per which innovation is often associated with progress as innovation is a survival instinct compulsory to stay relevant. With the help of a detailed presentation of eye-opening statistics, sir demonstrated the need for an innovation culture for an Atmanirbhar Bharat.
Innovation cannot happen overnight and needs a lot of R&D spending. India's investment in R&D has decreased over the last decade from 0.85% of GDP in 2008 - 2009 to remain stagnant at around 0.7% for the last several years, which is significantly lower than the top five R&D spenders globally in 2017.The fact that India neither has any brand that has made it to the global brand by value and origin of 2020 nor has any Indian university ranked anywhere in the top 25 global universities scale, also shows how India is lacking. All these statistics prove that a lot is needed to make an Atmanirbhar Bharat.
Speaker 3 - Prof. (Dr.) C. S. Reddy (Professor of Law, Karnataka State Law University, Hubballi, Karnataka)
Topic: "From Officer of Court to an Advocate as of Rights"
Prof. (Dr) C.S. Reddy Patil started his enlightening session by giving a brief about how chaotic the situation originally was, in every profession as everyone was free to pursue and practise any profession. Later people from every profession came together to form guilds and organisations and lobbied with the govt. to manage professions. These professional bodies monopolised the profession, all because of the knowledge they possessed. He explained how the law is rated to be the topmost profession among all the professions and how the professionals in charge of law are entrusted with more responsibility than any other profession, as they are charged with upholding the law and standing against the govt. so that the govt. stays within its domain and democracy are protected. He supported his observations on the legal profession by elaborating on the stand taken by some of the legal luminaries like Fali S. Nariman (in his book Before Memory Fades), Sir John Davis (who stated that lawyers hold a higher stand than medical professionals), Roscoe Pound, Justice Brandeis of the US Supreme Court and the Legendary Justice Krishna Iyer (who stated that “the Bar is not a private guild, but, by bold contrast, a public institution committed to public justice and pro bono public service”.) He also elaborated how the Advocates Act led to a new era in the history of legal education, by transferring the power of regulation from the Courts to the BCI, to fulfil the aspirations of the people demanding an All-India Bar, unification of the Bar, preventing any outside authority from regulating the legal profession. The BCI would lay down the standards of professional conduct The judgment in the case of Vinay Chandra Mishra was looked into in the case of Supreme Court Bar Association v. UOI, in which case it was held that only the Bar can disbar the advocate and the court cannot.