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Hi IP MADs,

Background: What is driving Indian water purifier segment?
In the past few years, Indian water purifier industry has witnessed an exponential growth of more than 22% CAGR. According to TechSci Research, the water purifier industry sales grew dramatically during FY’10 as compared to previous fiscals due to improving demand and expanding production capacity. In 2011, the organized water purifier market stood at Rs 1500 Crore. Given the increasing awareness, and largely untapped market potential, the sector is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 20 percent till 2016. As per India Water Review, water purifier segment is growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 25 per cent and is likely to touch Rs 7,000 crore by 2015 from the current level of about Rs 3,200 crore as of June 2, 2012.
HUL launched its Pureit water purifier range in India in 2008 with patent protection or market exclusivity for its gravity-fed filtration technology. The water purifier currently sells around six million units per annum, contributing about Rs. 200-250 crore to its annual revenue.
‘Tata Swach’- World’s most cost-effective water purifier improves affordability of safe drinking water for millions of families. It is innovative nanotechnology water purifier made from rick husk ash which does not require electricity or running water to operate. The product development has resulted in 14 patents being filed by the company.

India’s apex Intellectual Property tribunal i.e. Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) on 12th June, 2012 has ruled that the patent issued to Hindustan Unilever Ltd’s (HUL) in 2005 has been revoked with cost of Rs.5000/-,marking a landmark victory for the Tata group in a high profile intellectual property battle.
The Applicant, Tata Chemicals Limited sought revocation of the invention of Patent No.195937 (Application No. 709/MUM/2002) titled “Filter Device” filed on August 7, 2002 and granted on August 26, 2005 to Hindustan Unilever Limited. The Invention relates to a filter cartridge for use in gravity-fed filtration “in particular to a novel filter cartridge which would facilitate gravity flow filtration at constant flow rate even with increased literage of water through the cartridge maintaining effective filtration characteristics”.

Interesting because of the grounds on which HUL’s patent has been revoked!!
The IPAB order in this high-profile intellectual property dispute is significant because it is the first such decision in which suppression of details and submission of incorrect filings attracting the provisions of Section 8 of the Indian Patent Act, 1970 were the basis for the cancellation of a patent. In support of the grounds relied by the Applicant attacking the patent as being anticipated, and obvious and insufficiently described and so on, they relied upon the following patent documents. In addition both the parties have relied upon plethora of foreign case laws.

No.
Used to Prove
Document Number
Filing Date
Title
1
Prior art-Hindustan Unilever
December 17, 1992
Ceramic filter
2
Prior art-Hindustan Unilever
October 12, 1994
Gravity water purifier
3
Prior art-Indian Patent Office
December 2, 2000
Water filtration apparatus
4
Invention lacks novelty and inventive step
December 2, 2001
Water filtration apparatus
5
Invention lacks novelty and inventive step
August 20, 1998
Filtration Device for Liquid Purification
6
Obviousness
April 13, 1972
Water Purification Device
7
Lacking inventive step
February 13, 1979
Filter

The table below will show how the Invention is fully taught by US‘260.   The terminology is different, but the hollow passage is there, the upward flow of fluid through the filter media is there and how they are constructed is the same. 

 Many arguments were made from both the sides alleging requirements of Section 8 of the Indian Patent Act, 1970. It is interesting to note that the IPER (International Preliminary Examination Report) rejected the claims 1 to 3 on both the grounds of novelty and inventive step. The Patent Office did not see the IPER as it was not submitted. In paragraph 107 of the order it was laid down that, “The Act requires compliance with Section 8(1) and 8(2) and the patent applicant must comply with the same.  Otherwise the patent is liable to be revoked.”

One of the most conspicuous part of the pronounced order is in paragraph 110 which highlights “essence of expert evidence and its role in development of IP jurisprudence” as hereunder:
We find as a rule the experts called upon by the parties before us file affidavits.  These affidavits are naturally drafted by the respective advocates.  So they read almost like the statement of case or counter statement depending on who has called the witness.  Instead it may be better to just get their opinion in the form of an affidavit.  This opinion will deal with the prior art, the common general knowledge, this invention and why the expert is of the opinion that it is anticipated or not, it is obvious or not.  Even when the affidavit has to counter the opinion of the other side expert, it is better merely to say that the expert disagrees with the opinion and for what reason.  Instead the affidavits contain attacks on the expertise of the experts.  This must be eschewed.  Each expert gives his opinion and the reasons therefore and the Court / Board will apply its mind and decide how relevant the evidence is for proving the case.  The experts are respected academicians in their fields and such attacks may discourage the best minds from offering to assist us. It will be then a loss to the development of IP jurisprudence. The expert evidence is one of the relevant facts which the court has to consider and while deciding the patentability of some inventions, this may be very crucial.  We hope the members of the Bar will bear this in mind, when they request experts to assist us.  Whether they appear in the witness box or file affidavits in lieu thereof, the witnesses deserve our respect.

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3 Responses so far.

  1. Lovely shots and the Good looks so tempting.
    Thanks for sharing with detailed steps.i m also use Best Water Purifier in India

  2. WOw nice Best Water purifier.It working good.i am happy to buy this.

  3. Best quality Water purifier the taste of the water it very pure and hygienic

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