The latest amendment to the 1970 Patent Act of India (effective 1 January 2005) brings the law into compliance with TRIPS. One of the major changes was to allow patents for methods and pharmaceutical patents; previously only certain products were patentable. In addition embedded software that has technical applications can now be patented. Procedural changes implemented include those at both pre-grant and post-grant opposition and reducing the time limit to request exam
to 3 years.
The blog "Law under the Microscope’" has two excellent discussions about this case. The story of the collaboration and fall-out between City of Hope and Genentech demonstrates why wording in contracts is so important. The jury awarded City of Hope USD 500 million. (In my opinion, contracts are important to do right although they are rarely appreciated and only consulted when something goes wrong - and that is exactly when the wording becomes important.)
The icon is Maclyn McCarty. McCarty, along with Oswald Avery and Colin MacLoed, set the scientific world afire in the mid-1940s when they discovered that DNA was the genetic material. Surprisingly, this seminal discovery, which Joshua Lederberg has called the "pivotal discovery of 20th Century biology" was never recognized by the Nobel committee. We take so much for granted about DNA’s role in transmitting genetic traits that it is hard to fathom a time when the general belief was that proteins were responsible. (Read more about McCarty.)
In the words of Thomas Kuhn (Structure of a Scientific Revolution, a book that should be required reading by all scientists and patent lawyers), the discovery shifted the paradigms of science. Kuhn’s belief is that very little scientific discovery is "revolutionary"; rather, most scientific work operates under accepted paradigms and only occasionally is there a shift and re-formulation of the paradigms. A conclusion of this theory is that scientific advancement is not linear, but moves in spurts (rarely) and in dribs and drabs (mostly).
(Read more and I’ll explain how I think this relates to patents.)