Centre for Internet & Society

In India, if a patent is not locally worked within three years of its issuance, any person may request a compulsory license, and if the patent is not adequately worked within two years of the grant of such a compulsory license, it may be revoked.

The research paper by Prof Jorge L. Contreras, University of Utah, and Rohini Lakshané, Centre for Internet and Society was published on SSRN on July 17, 2017. The paper has been accepted for publication in the Jindal Global Law School Law Review.


The potency of India’s patent working requirement was demonstrated by the 2012 issuance of a compulsory license for Bayer’s patented drug Nexavar. In order to provide the public with information about patent working, India requires every patentee to file an annual statement on “Form 27” describing the working of each of its issued Indian patents.

We conducted the first comprehensive and systematic study of all Forms 27 filed with respect to a key industry sector: mobile devices. We obtained from public online records 4,916 valid Forms 27, corresponding to 3,126 mobile device patents. These represented only 20.1% of all Forms 27 that should have been filed and corresponded to only 72.5% of all mobile device patents for which Forms 27 should have been filed. Forms 27 were missing for almost all patentees, and even among Forms 27 that were obtained, almost none contained useful information regarding the working of the subject patents or fully complying with the informational requirements of the Indian Patent Rules. Patentees adopted drastically different positions regarding the definition of patent working, while several significant patentees claimed that they or their patent portfolios were simply too large to enable the reporting of required information. Many patentees simply omitted required descriptive information from their Forms without explanation.

The Indian government has made little or no effort to monitor or police compliance with Form 27 filings, undoubtedly leading to significant non-compliance. However, some of the complaints raised by patentees and industry observers may have merit. Namely, that patents covering complex, multi-component products that embody dozens of technical standards and thousands of patents are not necessarily amenable to the individual-level data requested by Form 27. We hope that this study will contribute to the ongoing conversation in India regarding the most appropriate means for collecting and disseminating information regarding the working of patents.

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