Statement of working for patents and confidentiality
In my earlier post on this matter, I discussed the importance of filing the statement of working for a patent without delving into the aspect of confidentiality or lack thereof when such statements are made. Statutorily, the statement of working may be published by the Patent Office and so the Patent Office has made available online the statements of working filed for the year 2012.
The statement of working requires disclosure of number and monetary value of the patent product manufactured in, or imported from other countries to, India. This is confidential information that companies are disinclined to reveal.
A brief look at the statements filed by multinational companies reveals that these companies do not reveal their confidential information at all. Here are some examples:
- An internet giant filed its statement claiming it never worked its patent in India and its reason was “nothing in particular”.
- Another internet giant stated that its patent portfolio was so big that it was not sure if the patent was worked in India. It reasons that this uncertainty arises because its products and services are covered by numerous patents. It also does not have full information as to the quantum and value of its products or services which use its patents.
- An automobile company, big in the industry, also claims that it never worked its patent in India and its reason was “nothing in particular”. (And yes, this statement was filed by the same firm representing the first internet giant. In fact, I noticed that most statements filed by this firm state this reason for not working a patent. The question is are the patents honestly not worked or are they worked and the information is not revealed because of confidentiality? Maybe it is just the skeptic in me, but I sense nonchalance here akin to “It is only illegal when you get caught”. What else would explain numerous patents of a multinational company not being worked?)
It is also evident that in cases where these companies do claim to have worked their patents in India, they state that they do not have any information readily available but would be willing to provide the Patent Office with such information upon its request.
Sly though it may be, it is a strategy which is practical. This way the companies do not file false information (which can be penalized) and they appear cooperative. Given the never-ending backlog that the Patent Office anyway has, it would be a while before the Patent Office reviews these forms and takes any action for lack of proper compliance.
The statement of working for the year 2013 ought to have been filed by March 31, 2014. However, the Patent Office is yet to make this public. At this point, I am waiting to see if these companies continue not revealing their “confidential information” until the Patent Office catches on.