Sunday, October 16, 2011

Indonesia - Bajaj's patent appeal

A Bajaj, without the usual
plumes of blue smoke
A rare patent dispute was heard in the Jakarta Commercial Court. Bajaj Auto Limited is the Indian maker of the ubiquitous 3 wheeled 3 seater Jakarta 2 stroke motorcycle taxi (left). They appealed to the courts against the Patent Appeal Commission’s refusal of their patent for a four step combustion engine patent. The original rejection was based on lack of novelty and inventive step. Apparently prior patents were cited but Bajaj disputed these and presented expert evidence to show the patent covered different subject matter from the prior art cited.

The decision came out last week, and Bajaj were refused their appeal, but on procedural grounds. The court said they missed the appeal deadline by one day. Appeals run from date of receipt. Bajaj's lawyers denied this afterwards asserting their timing was correct. But presumably the Patent Office will also have records when they delivered a document to the lawyers. So there may have been an error.  

Indonesian courts do have a strong preference for decisions on procedural issues, even when there is doubt. This gets them out of making tough decisions, but results in the denial of justice. Litigants always need to be cautious about filing timings.

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