A 2018 amendment to the Indian Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act, 2015 (“Commercial Courts Act”) makes it mandatory for a party to exhaust the remedy of mediation before initiating court proceedings under the Commercial Courts Act, with the limited exception of cases where urgent relief is being sought. Patent infringement disputes, being disputes of a commercial nature, are governed by the Commercial Courts Act and, therefore, the mandatory pre-institution mediation provision applies to such disputes. The time bound mediation procedure envisaged in this provision allows a patentee to not only bring a possible infringer to the negotiation table under the threat of future litigation but also allow patentees to resolve disputes in a timely manner by avoiding long-drawn litigation in Indian courts. Patentees can now consider a different strategy when considering steps for enforcement of patent rights in India in view of the possible advantages of such mediation proceedings discussed in this article.
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