Thursday, 1 March 2012

Auto-rickshaw Meters Stuck in a Patent Row

Mumbai Mirror reports that the implementation of the new tamper proof electronic meters used in taxis and auto-rickshaws is likely to face patent hurdles. A Pune based electronic meter manufacturing company, Standard Meter Manufacturing Company has filed a petition in the Bombay High Court on Wednesday,  February 29, 2012. In a statement made by Rajendra Pillay, the owner of Standard Meter Manufacturing Company, he has alleged that the the installation of electronic meters is unwarranted and unconstitutional.

The auto union has complained that the implementation of tamper proof seal - a stainless steel mechanism and a plastic cover with a unique numbering series, will give the manufacturing company complete monopoly on the electronic meters market. Moreover, a new seal has to be brought every time the electronic meter is open, which will give the manufacturing company unfair advantage and increase the burden on the taxi and auto-rickshaw owners.

The patent application at issue - 1184/MUM/2003, titled "CLASSIC METER" was filed on 2003-11-14 and was published on 2007-03-16. The Abstract of the patent states:

"The Classic Meter is of Height 12.3 cms, Width 16.9 cms, Length 16.9. The total weight of the taximeter without accessories is 1.5 kgs. (b) Total number of display windows-4 Nos. (c) There is a digital display of fare based on the distance covered and time taken. The LED indicators show the status of 'Hired', 'Stopped' and 'For Hire'. (d) This product adheres to the constructional requirements of Bureau of Indian of Standards. The performance required for IS:2747 has been confirmed to and the approval has been received from the authorities. (e) The option of providing roof lamp for the above mentioned indication is also available."

No information is present in the abstract that discloses the mechanism of the tamper proof seal. However, one thing is for sure, the number of IP cases in India is definitely increasing and more and more number of people and company have started using their IP to exercise their rights in the market. 

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