First Publication Date: 15th December 2009.
 
This case can be considered to be the most important case in inventive step jurisprudence in India. Though the case was decided in 1978, the principles laid down in the case are followed even today and have been codified in the Indian Patent Act.
The patent in the case related to a means for holding utensils for turning purposes . According to a preferred feature of the invention disclosed in the patent, the pressure end of the spindle was rotatably mounted and for that purpose it comprised an independent piece engaged by a hollowed end in a spindle, said hollowed end being preferably fitted with ball bearings to enable the said independent piece to revolve with friction when it was in contractual relationship with the utensil . The patent disclosed that the independent piece had a forward pointed end or a blunt end, which was firmly held against the utensil . The validity of the patent was challenged on the ground of lack of novelty and inventive step.
The Court started its analysis of inventive step by stating that in order to be patentable an improvement on something known before or a combination of different matters already known, should be something more than a mere workshop improvement and must independently satisfy the test of invention or inventive step . it stated that to be patentable the improvement or the combination must produce a new result, or a new article or a better or cheaper article than what was already existing . As per the court, an invention would have an inventive step if the combination of old known integers may be so combined that by their working inter relation they produce a new process or improved result. Mere collocation of more than one integers or things, not involving the exercise of any inventive faculty would not according to the Court qualify for the grant of a patent . The Court then stated that an invention must not be the obvious or natural suggestion of what was previously known and if a person was able to make the invention based on the knowledge existing on the priority date, the invention would lack inventive step .
After considering the prior art in the case, the court stated that the patented invention was merely an application of an old invention, known for decades before 1951, for the traditional purpose of scraping and turning utensils, with a slight change in the mode of application, which was no more than a Workshop improvement . The invention, according to the court, was a normal development of an existing manner of manufacture not involving something novel which would be outside the probable capacity of a craftsman . According to the Court, the invention did not lie outside the Track of what was known before and it would have been obvious to any skilled worker in the field in the light of existing knowledge . As the invention involved a mere addition of a lever and bracket, which did not involve a substantial exercise of the inventive power or innovative faculty by the inventor, the Court stated that the invention was obvious . Furthermore, as the invention was publicly used by the patent holder before the date of filing of the patent application, the Court observed that the novelty of the invention was negated. In the light of its analysis, the court concluded that the invention lacked novelty and inventive step.
This case can be considered to be the most important case in inventive step jurisprudence in India. Though the case was decided in 1978, the principles laid down in the case are followed even today and have been codified in the Indian Patent Act.

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