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Dr. Mrinalini Kochupillai, LL.M.

Senior Research Fellow

Intellectual Property and Competition Law

+49 89 24246-5463
+49 89 24246-522
mrinalini.kochupillai(at)ip.mpg.de

Areas of Interest:

Inter- and multi-disciplinary studies on 'Sustainable Innovations' and ‘Ethics in Innovation’; Philosophical and cultural foundations of eastern versus western approaches to promoting, protecting, adopting and disseminating innovations; Protection of Traditional Knowledge and culture specific innovations; Plant variety protection law and policy, including UPOV; Technology transfer, including public funded R&D; Patent law in developing countries with special focus on pharmaceutical patents.

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Academic Résumé

Mrinalini is a senior academic researcher and lecturer in intellectual property law, innovation policy and mixed research methodology. With over 15 years of experience in three continents, her research focuses on patents (in the field of pharmaceuticals and plants), technology transfer, plant variety protection, including means of Promoting Sustainable Innovations in Plant Varieties and investigating means of protecting and beneficially promoting culture-specific innovations linked to traditional knowledge systems worldwide. Her research adopts a mixed methodological framework (a combination of qualitative and quantitative investigations) and is unique because of its rich inter- and multi-disciplinary content. Mrinalini’s current research falls under two broad and interlinked conceptual frameworks, titled Sustainable Innovations Research, and Ethics in Innovation, which look at the ethical foundations, as well as sustainability of innovations, innovation systems and knowledge exchange through a multi-disciplinary (science, law, economics and philosophy) and multi-cultural lens.

Mrinalini obtained her B.A. LL.B (Hons.) degree from the National Law Institute University, Bhopal, in 2003, and an LL.M. in Intellectual Property, Commerce and Technology from the University of New Hampshire, School of Law (formerly the Franklin Pierce Law Center) in 2006. She completed her Ph.D. titled Promoting Sustainable Innovations in Plant Varieties at the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU), Munich as a full scholar and fellow of the International Max Planck Research School for Competition and Innovation. She has been a faculty member at the European Business College, Munich, the Munich Intellectual Property Law Center (MIPLC), the Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property, Concord, and a guest lecturer at various institutes in India and Germany. She has also served as a consultant-expert to the International Technology Transfer Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

In partnership with the University of Leeds department of the History of Science and Philosophy, Mrinalini has won a competitive grant from the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council to act as a co-investigator on a research project titled  International Development and Intellectual Property, which takes her Ph.D. research forward into a practical setting aimed at affecting actual governmental policy.

Mrinalini’s fundamental research concept and project on Ethics in Innovation came together as the 1st Munich Conference Series on Ethics in Innovation in June 2017, with major global institutions as partners. The conference attracted speakers from governmental, non-governmental, corporate and academic institutions, and the outcomes of the conference is forthcoming as a conference volume co-edited by Mrinalini. Within the framework of the Conference Series, Mrinalini also designed and implemented (in partnership with the World Forum for Ethics in Business) a first of its kind open source social science research project involving 52 students from 27 different countries, spanning more than 10 academic disciplines. A prolific writer and blogger, Mrinalini’s research has been published in various international peer reviewed journals and in popular legal blogs.

EDUCATION

2009 – 2015
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Ph.D. for dissertation titled Promoting Sustainable Innovations in Plant Varieties  (Summa cum Laude)


2009 – 2013
International Max Planck Research School for Competition & Innovation, Munich
Fellow and scholarship holder, the Max Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition, Munich. Full scholarship awarded for completion of Ph.D. dissertation titled ‘Promoting Sustainable Innovations in Plant Varieties’.


2005 – 2006
Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property Law, University of New Hampshire
LL.M. in Intellectual Property, Commerce and Technology (GPA: 3.6/4.0).


1998 – 2003
National Law Institute University, Bhopal, India
B.A., LL.B. (Hons.) (Overall grade: B+).

Publications

Edited Works

Rethinking the Ethics in Innovation: Multi-Cultural & Multi-Disciplinary Case Studies (forthcoming) 2018 (together with Sunita Tripathy).

    Ethics in Innovation: The Information and Communication Technologies (forthcoming) 2018 (together with Christoph Lütge).

    • Event: The Munich Conference Series on Ethics in Innovation, Munich, 2017-06-26

    Books and Monographs

    Promoting Sustainable Innovations in Plant Varieties (Munich Studies on Innovation and Competition, 5), Springer, Berlin; Heidelberg 2016, XXI + 335 pp. DOI

      Contributions to Collected Editions, Commentaries, Handbooks and Encyclopaedias

      Is UPOV 1991 a Good Fit for Developing Countries? Re-thinking ‘Market Failure’ & ‘Public Goods Theory’ in the Plant Breeding Sector, in: Josef Drexl (ed.), The Innovation Society & Intellectual Property, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA 2018, forthcoming.

      • Event: 16th EIPIN Congress, Maastricht, 2015-01-29

      Patent Enforcement in India, in: Reto M. Hilty, Kung-Chung Liu (eds.), The Enforcement of Patents, Comparing Asian, European and American Experiences (Max Planck Series of Asian Intellectual Property Law, 16 ), Kluwer Law International, Alphen aan den Rijn 2012, 351 - 389.

        Journal Articles

        HMT: Time to share benefits with our farmers?, SpicyIP India Blog 2012 02.11.2012.

          Protecting Parental Lines of Extant Hybrids in India, Parts I and II, SpicyIP India Blog 2012 12.09.2012.

            The Indian Plant Variety Protection Law: Historical and Implementation Perspectives, Journal of Intellectual Property Rights 16, 2 (2011), 88 - 101.

              The Protection and Utilization of Public Funded Intellectual Property Bill, 2008: A Critique in the Light of India’s Innovation Environment, Journal of Intellectual Property Rights 15, 1 (2010), 19 - 34.

              TRIPS, Patents and Parallel Imports in India: A Proposal for Amendment, The Indian Journal of Intellectual Property Law 2 (2009), 63 - 86 (together with Shamnad Basheer).

                Exhausting Patent Rights in India: Parallel Imports and TRIPS Compliance, Journal of Intellectual Property Rights 13, 5 (2008), 486 - 497 (together with Shamnad Basheer).

                • India’s amendment to her patent regime in 20051 to introduce pharmaceutical product patents attracted unprecedented attention, both domestically and globally. While multinational pharmaceutical companies were concerned that the Act withered away their exclusive rights, civil society activists decried the new product patent regime, fearing that it would cause steep hikes in the price of life saving drugs. This politicization of patent law produced some interesting results; most recently, a recent Delhi High Court case that denied an injunction to a multinational patentee on the ground that it sold a more ‘expensive’ drug than the infringing generic manufacturer.2 While some provisions in the new patent regime, such as Section 3(d) continue to attract a lot of attention, others have been lost in the legalese. One such provision is Section 107A(b) dealing with parallel imports, which, if read in a strict literal manner could have far reaching implications for the rights of a patentee. This paper aims to highlight this particular provision, which has thus far not attracted the attention it deserves. It explores the ambiguities inherent in this section and discusses the gaps in the Indian law pertaining to exhaustion and parallel imports. Lastly, it goes on to suggest statutory amendments in order to remove ambiguities inherent in the section and expand the scope of exhaustion envisaged therein, whilst at the same time remaining TRIPS compliant. The paper is divided into four sections: The first section explains the concept of exhaustion/parallel importation in relation to patents. Section two examines the ambiguities inherent in Section 107A(b). It also explores the gaps in the law relating to exhaustion in India and assesses the TRIPS compatibility of the current provision. The third section recommends a creative way of interpreting the current statutory provision so as to remove the ambiguities, and balance out the rights of patentees and parallel importers in an optimal manner without violating the TRIPS Agreement. The final section recommends statutory amendments to Section 107A(b).
                • http://nopr.niscair.res.in/handle/123456789/2037

                Arbitration of Patent Infringement and Validity Disputes Worldwide, Harvard Journal of Law & Technology 19, 2 (2006), 299 - 357 (together with M. Coust et al.).

                  Case notes

                  The Parental Lines Case, IIC 44, 3 (2013), 369 - 379. DOI

                    Research Papers

                    A Philosophical and Conceptual Framework for the Regulation of Big Data (Forthcoming), 2018.

                      Promoting Sustainable Innovation among Indian Small Farmers, White Paper to be submitted to the Government of India (Forthcoming), 2018 (together with Gregory Radick et al.).

                        Patentability Criteria and the ‘Utility’ of Section 3(D): From 'Strong' IP Regimes to 'Stronger' R&D Regimes, 2017.

                        • It is not uncommon to hear the terms ‘weak’ or ‘strong’ appended to patent laws of developing versus developed countries. The common trend is to label regimes that grant a broad scope of protection (including the term and type of protection) to inventors as ‘strong’ systems, and label those that grant a narrow or more limited scope of protection, as ‘weak’ systems. What is missed in this debate of ‘weak’ versus ‘strong’ is the impact of the patent system on the nature and quality of R&D on the one hand, and on the nature and quality of innovations resulting from such R&D on the other. In this context, a more worrying trend is the grant of patents to improved versions of existing pharmaceutical compounds, even while these improved versions do not bring any added value to the consuming public. Using the example of section 3(d) of the Indian patents act, recent landmark cases decided thereunder, as well as a recent controversy involving a blockbuster drug, the paper argues that patent law and policy, to the extent that it acts as a signal for the direction and scope of R&D encouraged by the State/society in question, must raise the bar on the standard of novelty, non-obviousness and utility expected from inventions, in return for the exclusivity granted to them. The paper further argues that the basis on which regimes are currently labelled as ‘weak’ or ‘strong’ needs to be reversed and re-thought if the society wishes to overcome problems ranging from patent thickets to evergreening.
                        • Available at SSRN

                        Mixed Methods Research: Assessing its Utility for Multi-disciplinary and Empirical Legal Research., 2017.

                          Market Failure As a Justification Against Intellectual Property Protection in Plant Varieties: An Empirical Study from India, 2017.

                          • The study compares in situ seed conservation trends in two crop categories, ‘pulses’ crops and ‘preferred’ crops, in two regions of central India. It finds that in situ agrobiodiversity (seed) conservation efforts suffer statistically significant decrease in crops for which varieties ‘improved’ by the private or government sector are made available to farmers. This trend calls to question the seed replacement policy adopted by several governments, notably in developing countries, as also the push to promote intellectual property protection for formally developed varieties across the globe, and its potential impact on in situ agrobiodiversity conservation. The overarching approach adopted by the study was multi-disciplinary and incorporated a mixed-methods research design where the qualitative and quantitative segments received equal status at the time of data interpretation. The quantitative data used for the study derives from extensive farmer surveys conducted in the two regions using the stratified random sampling method. The results provide evidence of significantly higher in situ seed conservation trends in the ‘pulses’ crop category than in the ‘preferred’ crop category. The qualitative data collected via concurrently and sequentially conducted interviews further enriches the findings from the quantitative study and suggests that in regions where improved crop varieties are introduced, farmers have a significantly lower inclination to engage in in situ seed conservation, even for ‘pulses’ crops. From a legal and policy perspective, these findings strongly suggest the need to involve regional agricultural extension officers (RAEOs) in the effort to promote in situ agrobiodiversity conservation. They also suggest that in the absence of such efforts, the provisions of the Indian Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001 (the PPV&FR Act) and similar laws that permit farmer level seed saving and conservation, may eventually lose their significance.
                          • Available at SSRN

                          TRIPs Compatibility of UPOV 1978 and the Indian Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Act, 2001, Independent Research completed with funding from the Munich Intellectual Property Law Center (MIPLC), 2010.

                            Engineering a More Innovative Environment in India: An Analysis of the Protection and Utilization of Public Funded Intellectual Property Bill, Research Report submitted to the International Technology Transfer Institute, University Of New Hampshire, 2009.

                              The Intellectual Property and Innovation System in India: Developing Effective University/Industry/Government Partnerships, Research Report funded by the International Technology Transfer Institute (ITTI), Franklin Pierce Law Center, 2009.

                                Patent Procurement in India, Asia Practice Committee White Paper, IPO Education Foundation, Patent Rights in India and China Conference, Washington D.C. June 11-12, 2007, 2007 (together with M. Pillai et al.).

                                  The Compulsory License Regime in India: Past, Present and Future. Research Report funded by and submitted to the Japanese Patent Office, 2005 (together with Shamnad Basheer).

                                    Content of Right to Health in India, Research report compiled for the National Judicial Academy, India for training seminars for district and high court judges, 2005.

                                      Compulsory Licensing and Experimental Use Exemption Under the Indian Patents Act, 1970, Research assistant for a report commissioned by the Japanese Patent Office, May – June 2004, 2004.

                                        Health and Human Rights in India with Reference to National Health Programs, Research report submitted to the National Human Rights Commission of India, June 2000, 2000.

                                          Economic Liberalization and Human Rights in India: Drug Price Hike and the Right to Life, Research report submitted to the National Human Rights Commission of India, June 1999, 1999.

                                            Blog Posts

                                            2017. Re-thinking the ‘Ethics’ in ‘Innovation’: Towards a More Inclusive and Culture Sensitive Definition of Innovation, Lost Clauses Blog (June 2017)

                                            2017. First Munich Conference Series on Ethics in Innovation: Concept Note, Lost Clauses Blog (April 2017)

                                            2016. On Bt Cotton, FRAND Licensing and Recent Governmental Initiatives: Putting Things in Context, Parts I and II, SpicyIP India Blog (September 2016)

                                            2012. HMT: Time to Share Benefits with our Farmers? SpicyIP India Blog (November 2012)

                                            2012. Innovations by Small Land Owners – Can their Innovations bring them Prosperity under Indian Law? Lost Clauses Blog (October 2012)

                                            2012. Protecting Parental Lines of Extant Hybrids in India, Parts I and II, SpicyIP India Blog (September 2012).

                                            2011. Indian Agriculture, Some Basic Facts and Food for Thought, Lost Clauses Blog (July 2011).

                                            2008. The Public Funded R&D Bill: Does India Need a Bayh-Dole? Parts I, II and III, SpicyIP India Blog (July 07, 2008; Sept 04, 2008; Sept 27, 2008) (Also reproduced in the University of New Hampshire’s ITTI Blog).

                                            2008. The Competition Act, Patents and Over Hyped Drugs: Parts I, II and III, SpicyIP India Blog (February 05, 2008; February 06, 2008; February 07, 2008).

                                            2008. Moral Rights Under Copyright Laws: A Peep into Policy: Parts I, II and III, SpicyIP India Blog (December 04, 2007; December 20, 2007; January 13, 2008)

                                            Lectures

                                            09/15/17
                                            IP Policy in Agriculture Beyond the Green Revolution:Re-thinking the Seed Replacement Policy

                                            Sustainable Seed Innovation Roundtable
                                            Location: Bangalore, India


                                            06/23/17
                                            Re-thinking the 'Ethics' in 'Innovation': Case Studies in Culture Specific Innovations

                                            World Youth Forum 2017 in the 1st Munich Conference Series on Ethics in Innovation, Max Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition
                                            Location: Munich, Germany


                                            05/09/17
                                            Law & Policy for the Protection of Farmers' Seed Varieties: Bt Cotton & Seed Replacement Rates

                                            Natural Farming Summit: Innovative Approaches for World Nutrition & Food Security
                                            Location: Bangalore, India


                                            06/26/16
                                            IP Pluralism in Plant Variety Protection: Empirical Findings from India

                                            International Association for the Advancement of Teaching and Research of Intellectual Property (ATRIP) Congress
                                            Location: Krakow, Poland


                                            12/15 -12/17/15
                                            Promoting Inclusive and Sustainable Innovations in Plant Varieties

                                            Global Congress on Intellectual Property and Public Interest
                                            Location: National Law University, Delhi, India


                                            04/14/15
                                            Revisiting „Market Failures“ for Sustainable Innovations in Plant Varieties

                                            Cultivating Innovation Conference: How (and How Not) to think About Intellectual Property in Agriculture and Plant Sciences
                                            Location: John Innes Center, Norwich, UK


                                            04/11/15
                                            Is UPOV a Good fit for Developing Countries?

                                            16th EIPIN Congress: The Innovation Society and Intellectual Property
                                            Location: Munich, Germany


                                            12/04/14
                                            Addressing Market Failures for Sustainable and Inclusive Innovations in Plant Varieties

                                            IEG-IFPRI Conference on 'Innovation in Indian Agriculture: Ways Forward', India International Center
                                            Location: New Delhi, India


                                            05/26/14
                                            The Role of Institutions in Promoting Inclusive and Sustainable Innovations in Plant Varieties

                                            8th WIPO Advanced Research Forum
                                            Location: Geneva, Switzerland


                                            01/05- 01/08/12
                                            Plant Variety Protection in India: The First Ten Years

                                            4th Global Intellectual Property Convention, India Habitat Center
                                            Location: New Delhi, India


                                            06/05 - 06/07/11
                                            Market Failure and Intellectual Property Protection in the Seed Sector: The Indian Example

                                            2nd Workshop for Junior Researchers on the Law and Economics of Intellectual Property and Competition Law
                                            Location: Wildbad Kreuth, Germany


                                            03/31/10
                                            Protection & Utilization of Public Funded Intellectual Property Bill, 2008: A Critical Review

                                            Guest Lecture at the Indian Institute of Technology
                                            Location: Chennai, India


                                            08/01/10
                                            Protection & Utilization of Public Funded Intellectual Property Bill, 2008: A Critical Review

                                            Asia Round Table, Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law
                                            Location: Munich, Germany


                                            09/28/09
                                            India’s Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001: An ‘Effective’ Sui Generis System?

                                            MIPLC Fachbeirat, Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law
                                            Location: Munich, Germany


                                            03/19/2000
                                            Health and Human Rights in India – With Reference to the National Anemia Eradication Program

                                            National Human Right Commission Conference, Indian International Center
                                            Location: New Delhi, India

                                            Teaching Experience

                                            For Credit Courses

                                            Since 2013
                                            Asian Patent Law (LL.M. Program, Munich Intellectual Property Law Center, Munich)

                                            Since 2017
                                            Legal Research Method (LL.M. Program, Munich Intellectual Property Law Center, Munich)

                                            2013 - 2014
                                            International Business Law (Bachelor's & Master's Program, EU Business School, Munich)

                                            2013 - 2014
                                            Public International Law (Bachelor's Program, EU Business School, Munich)
                                            2008 - 2009: Legal Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Biodiversity (JD and LL.M Program, Franklin Pierce Law Center, Concord, NH, USA)

                                            Guest lectures



                                            Ethics and Economics in Indian Patent Law (Pforzheim University, Pforzheim: November 2014)

                                            Introduction to Intellectual Property Law (Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology, Bangalore, India: 2003, 2004, 2008)

                                            Managing Intellectual Property Assets: An Introduction (M. S. Ramaiah Institute of Management, Bangalore, India: 2003)

                                            Miscellaneous

                                            Admitted to practice before all courts in India (December 2003)

                                            Admitted to the New York Bar (November 2007)

                                            Legal Intern, Licensing and Strategy Department, IBM, New York (2006)

                                            Adjudged 2nd Best Speaker in the P.M Bhagwati Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition, National Law School of India, Bangalore, India (2001)

                                            Awarded the Kureha Scholarship to attend the Summer Workshop in Intellectual Property Rights, University of Washington, Seattle (May - June 2000)

                                            Trauma Relief & Resilience Instruction (as volunteer), International Association for Human Values (2013 - Present)

                                            Certified Yoga Instructor (as volunteer), by the International Art of Living Foundation (2003 - Present)