After Shark Tank India, Patents Discussed in KBC by Amitabh Bachchan

Indian Television is showing signs that it is evolving when we see talk of intellectual property rights like patents on TV shows.

First, Shark Tank India normalized the discussion about patents as a means to protect unique businesses on Indian Television, and now it Kaun Banega Crorepati 14 host Amitabh Bachchan who sanitized people about patent rights. What an exciting time to be alive!

It was the inventor Suma Narasa Prakash who introduced her patent application pertaining to the work she did in barcode-reading of Aadhar to Mr. Amitabh Bachhan in Episode 61 of the Kaun Banega Crorepati.

Following this disclosure, Senior Bachchan was awestruck and advised her to hire a good lawyer and get a good deal on the rights of her patent application.

In this article, we will discuss this topic including the patent application in question, the debut of Patents in Indian Television, and much more so just hang on.

Inventor Suma, Kaun Banega Crorepati, Host Amitabh Bachchan And The Patents

Episode 61 of Season 14 aired on October 14, 2022, had something unusual topic for discussion. You read that right. Indian Television on a prime show discussing intellectual property rights like patents is not common at all.

The lucky participant in the Episode is Ms. Suma, a Software Developer by profession. She got the chance to talk with the host Amitabh Bachchan Sir on Hot Seat of Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) in Episode 61 of KBC 2022.

There she disclosed her connection with Aadhar. She went on to further disclose that she had developed an algorithm to read barcodes, similar to the one used on Aadhar, in the very first year of her career. The specialty of her algorithm is then it can reconstruct tempered barcode images in order to read them.

Senior Bachchan was seen very surprised by this revelation and asked her whether she has applied patent for this technology.

To this, Ms. Suma replied that her company has applied patent for it on her behalf and explained the assignee-inventor concept in simple words.

Usually, the employer has an agreement with employees about intellectual property rights' (IPR's) ownership. It may be that the complete ownership of the employer or the employee; or the employer and the employee may decide to share it. 

So, whoever person/ organization gets the rights assigned to, is called an assignee.  

As she worked for a company at the time of inventing the algorithm, the company had a contract with her in place to own the rights partially or fully.

Perplexed by such IPR arrangement, Senior Bachchan enquired whether she is going to get any royalty out of it, to which she replied negatively.

It was odd to Mr. Bachchan as he has been handling intellectual property rights mostly copyrights and trademarks for his whole life.

As both Ms. Suma on Hot Seat and Host Senior Bachchan was enlightening Indian Audience with Intellectual Property Rights and Patents, Mr. Bachchan suggested, she should hire a good lawyer and redraft the ownership contract of the IPR created by her. To which she was seen nodding affirmative.

The Patent Application in Discussion

Ms. Suma’s comapny applied for a patent in US on June 26, 2012. It was published with publication number US 2013/0153662 A1 on June 20, 2013. It was titled “Barcode Photo-image Processing System”

You can checkout various steps of the algorithm from fig. 1 as published with the application.

As per the published data, the applicants were Ms. Suma hereself along with her employer company, Mindtree Ltd. We tried to find corresponding patent application in India but we couldn’t find it. One of the reasons may be because the invention is essentially about an algorithm and Indian Patenting System doesn’t allow computer programs/ algorithms per se to be patented.

At this point, you may wondering if the patent application was filed back in 2013, what is the status of the application now?

When we further looked for its file histroy, we found that the applicant failed to respond to the office action issued by the USPTO and therefore, the legal status of the application is “abandoned“.

Why the applicant chose to not respond is not known. There could be many reasons but that is not the topic of this article. As a result, the application was not granted a patent.

In this regard, you should know that any application that is filed in a patent office and meets certain criteria is published eventually with a publication number. In this case, the publication number is US 2013/0153662 A1.

Another publication happens when the patent is granted to the patent application with a patent grant number.

Most of the time, people confuse the published application number for granted patent number.

Mr. Amitabh Bachchan is Big Fan of Intellectual Property Rights Himself

Senior Bachchan is mainly known for his personality. Celebrities like him earn from their personalities and use them as their personal brands.

Misuse of their traits such as name, voice or image may bring harm to the celebirity and his brand.

It is no secret to us that Mr. Bachchan has copyrighted his unique voice. Which means that no one can use his voice without his permission.

Recently, there was a decision in which Hon’ble Delhi High Court has barred the use of Big B’s voice, image and name without his permission for personal and commercial gain.

So, it’s no wonder that KBC host Senior Bachchan advised the KBC contestent to patent her technology and get a good deal its rights.

Patents on Indian TV

Although it is new to discuss patents on Indian Television but it is not the first time a show like Kaun Banega Crorepati has talked about it.

Before this show, Shark Tank India has featured the talk of patents for obvious reasons. That is so, because, many startups that appear on the show presents their unique products. In doing so, when Sharks are convinced that the product is good and unique, they want to protect their investment i.e. the unique products.

So, the discussion of patents comes inadvertently into the show. Either Sharks point out if there is any patent to the unique product or the startups themselves discloses the patent status in order to increase their chances of funding.

Since, you liked this article, we have written an entire article on patents in shark tank India which might interest you as well.

Sonam Singh

My struggle, in the beginning, made me realize the need to create an ultimate resource that can provide answers to both very basic questions like what, why, when, who, how, where, and the most complex topics about intellectual property. Moreover, my passion for writing and my love for patents made it easier for me to create this super-helpful platform for students, professionals, and curious minds wanting to know about IP. Cheers to that.

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