The inventor’s patent application, and the following patent, consists of ‘one or greater claims specially mentioning and exceedingly claiming the situation remember which the applicant regards as his invention.’ The claims describe what is, and therefore, what isn't always, covered with the aid of using the patent. Once a patent has been issued, the inventor or ‘patentee’ can put in force the patent claims in opposition to an alleged infringer. In doing so, the patentee frequently asserts that the alleged infringer’s invention has actually infringed the claims of the patentee’s patent. The different recourse left to the patentee is the purposive and significant interpretation of the declare/s (in pith and substance) at trouble, thereby making use of the fairness idea underlined withinside the doctrine of equivalents. A patent consists of numerous parts—a specification, generally one or greater drawings, and constantly one or greater claims. No remember how a lot a puzzled machine, manufacture, composition of remember or procedure might also additionally seem like the specification and drawings of a patent, it's far simplest the claims of the patent which may be infringed. For that reason, if an trouble of infringement arises, it will become important to have a look at the claims of the patent in query.
The first step is to "study" every declare of the patent upon the accused shape or procedure. Every requirement of every declare should be taken into consideration to peer if every aspect set out withinside the declare additionally seems withinside the accused exercise. If one or greater matters set forth in a declare isn't always gift withinside the exercise being reviewed, there's no infringement of that declare. On the alternative hand, if every aspect which is about out in even one declare of the patent is gift withinside the accused shape or procedure, then there's direct and literal infringement. When literal infringement is found, this is commonly the cease of the inquiry.
When the claims of a patent are study in opposition to an accused exercise, they will be so near same that infringement is clear. Also, the accused exercise can be so faraway from the patent that there's no opportunity of infringement. Very frequently, however, there are a few variations, requiring similarly study. Sometimes, such variations are included right into a layout after information of a patent so that it will keep away from infringement. Then, the query provided is whether or not the layout is satisfactorily one of a kind from the patent to be held to be non- infringing. If the layout is just too near the patent, it's going to infringe. If the layout is faraway enough, it's going to now no longer infringe. The U.S. Supreme Court has stated: "One who seeks to pirate an invention, like one that seeks to pirate a copyrighted ee-e book or play, can be predicted to introduce minor versions to hide and refuge the piracy. Outright and forthright duplication is a stupid and really uncommon shape of infringement.
Concept of Claims and Patent Infringement
Patent claims are the statutorily granted rights assured with the aid of using the State for a well-described time period to the patentee concerning the situation remember of the patent. These are the special rights to save you 0.33 parties, who do now no longer have the patentee’s consent, from the act of making, using, presenting for sale, promoting or uploading that situation remember of patent.
The language of each written description and patent claims are important and maximum critical elements in figuring out the volume and scope of rights. The declare legally defines the patent’s scope of protection. The declare’s which means delineates the situation remember that simplest the patentee might also additionally exercise. Thus, a patent declare plays following objectives:
(i) Public notice: A patent declare informs the general public of the problem be counted over which the patent gives exclusivity. Law calls for each patent to have claims, and the declare’s preset place on the stop of the specification is statutorily defined.
(i) Defining patent scope: Patent claims surely set up the scope of exclusivity afforded to an issued patent. The declare tells the general public the patent’s specific scope of exclusivity with the aid of using defining the patent grant’s metes and bounds. This is the maximum essential trait of the current patent declare. Through the declare’s words, the patent declare establishes the number one vicinity of exclusivity the patentee will revel in due to the patent grant.
In the case of a patent infringement inquiry, tiers of evaluation are typically finished with the aid of using courts to research the infringement. The first degree is literal infringement and the second one is infringement beneathneath the doctrine of equivalents. Literal infringement examines whether or not the alleged tool falls precisely withinside the obstacles of the claims of the patent with the aid of using evaluating the textual meanings of the claims with the capabilities of the challenger’s tool.
However, if at some point of the judicial dedication no literal infringement is discovered, the second one step of evaluation followed with the aid of using the courts is to use the doctrine of equivalents. At this degree, claims are interpreted past their strict literal that means and the scope of the claims can be prolonged to the capabilities which are equal to the ones actually claimed. This indicates that the specific rights furnished with the aid of using a patent are primarily based totally on, however now no longer solely constrained to, the language of its claims. Notwithstanding the long-identified price of clean and sure claims, courts have refused to restrict the infringement inquiry to the suitable preference of words.
Nature and Scope of Doctrine of Equivalents
Doctrine of equivalents is an equitable doctrine which can observe in state of affairs where, no matter the absence of literal infringement, there nonetheless can be infringement if the products or services in query has a shape or plays a characteristic this is an equal of an detail recited withinside the declare. ‘Equivalence’ manner that a declare detail and its counterpart in a product does significantly the equal element in significantly the equal manner to attain significantly the equal end result.
The doctrine of equivalents arose from judicial efforts to prevent competition from making insignificant changes and substitutions to the claimed invention, despite the fact that including nothing, to be able to keep away from literal infringement. While making use of the doctrine of equivalents for patent infringement proceedings, courts have struggled to stability the competing public rules of shielding the patentee from fraud and the want for affordable reality for the general public concerning the scope of the patentee’s specific rights.
The concept on which the doctrine of equivalents based is that ‘if gadgets do the equal paintings in significantly the equal manner, and achieve significantly the equal end result, they're the equal, despite the fact that they fluctuate withinside the name, form, or shape.’ Difference among invention and accused tool should be insubstantial – if the variations are substantial, no equivalence is discovered although characteristic- manner-end result take a look at is met. Factors regarding substantiality are:
(i) Whether men and women with competencies withinside the artwork surely recognize of the equivalence of the claimed and accused inventions.
(ii) Whether someone with talent ought to have recognised of the equivalence.
(iii) Whether he had supposed to copy, or, as a substitute supposed to layout around, or inadvertently arrived on the equal end result.
Under the doctrine of equivalents, a product or technique that doesn't actually infringe upon the explicit phrases of a patent declare can also additionally although be discovered to infringe if there is ‘equivalence’ among the factors of the accused product or technique and the claimed factors of the patented invention.
(i) Public notice: A patent declare informs the general public of the situation remember over which the patent gives exclusivity. Law calls for each patent to have claims, and the declare’s preset area on the cease of the specification is statutorily described.
(i) Defining patent scope: Patent claims really set up the scope of exclusivity afforded to an issued patent. The declare tells the general public the patent’s unique scope of exclusivity with the aid of using defining the patent grant’s metes and bounds. This is the maximum essential trait of the contemporary-day patent declare. Through the declare’s words, the patent declare establishes the number one region of exclusivity the patentee will experience due to the patent grant.
Bars to the Doctrine of Equivalents
The idea of doctrine of equivalence isn't always altogether a perfect idea. Certain barriers for its software are:
(i) All-barriers rule,
(iii) Prosecution records estoppel,
(iv) The rule of Public dedication, and
(v) The ‘manner-plus-function’ claims.
Position in India:
It is submitted that we've a poorly analysed, sloganistic surroundings of patent case laws, which can be instead poorly and thoughtlessly analysed. There isn't anyt any particular path, which the Courts had laid. The Indian Court’s choices are enormously motivated through the English Patent Jurisprudence. In the case of Bishwanath Prasad Radhey Shyam v Hindustan Metal Industries, the Supreme Court observed, ‘As talked about in Arnold v Brandbury, the right manner to construe a specification isn't always to examine the declare first after which see what the entire description of the discovery is however first to examine the outline of the discovery, simply so the thoughts can be organized for what it's far, what's to be claimed, because the patentee can not claims extra than he wants to patent’. In Parkinson v Simon, Lord Esher M R enumerated that as a ways as feasible that the declare ought to be so construed as to provide an powerful that means of every of them, however the specification and the declare ought to be checked out and construed together.
Prior to Patents Act, 1970, the honorable Bombay High Court withinside the case of Lallubhai Chakubhai v Chimanlal & Chunilal & Co, held, ‘Patentee ought to in particular describe and verify the character of his invention withinside the specification, because the ambit of his invention is circumscribed through the claims. The production of a specification is an issue of regulation and is for the Court. It ought to be construed as a whole. A specification ought to be construed impartially, and the Court is normally gradual to construe it in opposition to the patentee. But the development ought to be affordable one’.
More recently, withinside the case of Raj Parkesh v Mangat Ram Chowdhary, the Delhi High Court held, ‘Whether a patent units out an invention is to be decided through a real and honest production of the specs on the idea of which an inventor claims that he's the primary inventor of an invention that's to be patented. In order to nicely construe the specs, one need to deliver normal that means to the phrases, however in which essential the phrases ought to be construed withinside the feel wherein they may be utilized in a specific trade, a sphere wherein the discovery is sought to had been made. The furnish of patent, no doubt, creates a monopoly in favour of the patentee however then regulation at some point of the unfastened global acknowledges that an inventor ought to first get the gain of his invention, even supposing it manner growing a monopoly’.
Further the Delhi High Court held, ‘To discover whether or not the patent has been infringed the patented article or method needs to be in comparison with the infringing articles or method and unessential functions withinside the infringing article or method are of no account and if the infringing items are made with the equal item in view that's attained through the patented article, then the minor version does now no longer suggest that there may be no piracy and someone is responsible of infringement if he makes what's in substance the equal of the patented article and a few trifling and unessential versions needs to be ignored’.
The willpower of literal or equal infringement is a query of reality and if literal infringement is absent, the patent proprietor can set up infringement below the doctrine of equivalents.
It also can be concluded that the doctrine of equivalents, is a novel exception to patent regulation. While to start with designed to save you fraud on a patent, the doctrine of equivalents has come to be an often-used 2nd approach of proving infringement. An proprietor of realty can not assert trespass onto grounds out of doors the metes and limits of belongings certainly owned. Moreover, the uncertainty of patent equivalency may have facet effects. Competitors are confronted with uncertainties as to what's and isn't always included through equivalents below a patent, despite the fact that there may be no literal infringement. Further, equivalency hinders the capacity for competition to layout across the patent claims. Thus, it may be stated that the doctrine of equivalents is set increasing the scope of the belongings proper of a patentee. It barely expands the scope past the literal that means of the claims.
With connection with India, it may be concluded that to this point there had been only a few instances managing patent declare infringement. Nevertheless, the tempo at which technological improvement is taking place, the Indian judiciary is in all likelihood to stand comparable instances in close to future. Moreover, considering the Patent Act, 1970, it's far glaring that no particular provision exists concerning the patent infringement and interpretation of patent claims; to fill this lacuna the courts can investigate the ideas and checks laid down through the US, UK and Japanese courts. They also can formulate their very own concept primarily based totally on sound techno-criminal reasoning in putting a stability among conflicting pursuits of safety and innovation. However, the emphasis need to be on placing a unique parameter concerning the volume and applicability of patent claims in order that there may be truth withinside the judicial method.
‘Intellectual Property Rights’ by P Narayana , Third Edition.
By- ANKITA BHATT
Bharati Vidyapeeth institute of Management and Research