Chief justice of Gujarat High Court, KS Radhakrishnan has called for a uniform patenting policy in order to curtail price rise of life saving drugs.

Delivering a speech during the inaugural function of YJ Trivedi-AMA Academy for Intellectual Property Rights Summit 2009 on Saturday, Justice Radhakrishnan emphasised on the need to strike a balance between the monopoly of pharma giants and availability of life-saving drugs at affordable rates to common people. "Let there be a uniform patenting policy so that we can curtail price rise of life-saving drugs," he said.

One school of thought is that Monopolistic Proprietary Act in the form of patents should not be granted to pharmaceutical companies, as it increased burden on the patients. But, we should also not forget that pharma industries in India have invested huge amount in research and development to invent new medicines for various diseases," he said.

The chief justice also acknowledged the contribution of Indian pharmaceutical companies in taking indigenous knowledge to a new height, and said that the patent laws should be such that they balance the interest of companies as well as public good.

Mentioning that there is low awareness in India regarding intellectual property rights, Justice Radhakrishnan said, "Momentum towards protecting indigenous properties has increased after turmeric and neem' disputes. The concept of traditional knowledge is often pitted against existing knowledge. The neem' incident also demonstrates the problem of exploitation of traditional knowledge."

However, he also said that policy makers should bear in mind the economical, social and cultural inequalities in the world, and unequal capacity in the domain of intellectual property may create unrest in the society. "Law enforcement agencies and judiciary must be alert. The high court, has 11 cases relating to IPR, seven for patents and two for trademarks. In all, 1,932 cases are pending in all subordinate courts and we will take speedy steps to dispose off these cases," he ensured.