The Jan Vishwas Bill 2022 has been tabled before the LOK SABHA on 21 December 2022. The Bill is aimed at decriminalizing minor offences and also rationalizing monetary penalties, depending on the gravity of offence.
The Bill considers 42 statutes including the Intellectual Property Rights statutes, which are proposed to be amended. Yet another novelty involved in the proposal is increase of ten per cent of the minimum amount of fine and penalty levied, after the expiry of every three years, once the Bill becomes a law.
Under Serial no. 18 of the Bill, the following amendments have been proposed for The Patents Act, 1970:
The Bill proposes 10 times increase in fine for false patent markings. The fine which is now extendable to one lakh rupees, will be revised to extend upto ten lakh rupees, and in case of continuing claim, a further penalty of one thousand rupees for every day after the first, has been proposed.
The Bill has proposed to omit Section 121 of the Act which provides penalty of imprisonment and/ or fine, for wrongfully using the words “patent office” or any related words.
Under Section 122(1), the Bill proposes to reduce the penalty for non-furnishing information to the Central Government [U/S 100(5)] and to the Controller of Patents [U/S 146] in Form 27. The existing penalty of upto ten lakh rupees will be substituted with upto one lakh rupees, and in case of continuing refusal, a further penalty of one thousand rupees for every day after the first, has been proposed.
If a person furnishes false information referred to under Sec 122(1), there will be a fine not less than twenty-five lakh rupees, instead of both imprisonment and fine as currently imposed.
Interestingly, the Review Report prepared by the Parliamentary Standing Committee and presented to Rajya Sabha on 23 July 2021, in a similar manner, proposed to amending the said provision by replacing imprisonment with substantial monetary penalty for non compliance. The impugned Bill resonates with the recommendation of the Review Report.
Practice by non-registered patent agent will be handled in a more stringent way and the Bill has proposed a penalty of upto five lakh rupees on commissioning the offence, instead of one lakh rupees as that in the current proviso. In case of continuing default, a further penalty of one thousand rupees on a daily basis after the first, has been proposed.
The Bill bestows new adjudicatory power to the Controller to impose penalties in case of offences by companies under Section 124 of the Act. In the proposed new Section (124A), the Controller may, by an order, impose penalty on a person stating therein any contravention or default under the provisions of the Act, in the manner as may be prescribed.
Author: Dipanjana Chakraborty