A doctor, Rajeev Chauhan, working with the government sector, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), on Wednesday alleged intellectual theft and breach of Patent Law by Mahindra & Mahindra by making a low-cost ventilator.

In an appeal to all the doctors, Dr Rajeev Chauhan, working as Assistant Professor in Department Of Anaesthesia, PGIMER Chandigarh, claimed he has been working on innovation since last one year and filed a patent for the same on 22 December 2019 to Indian Patent Authority. The Institute Ethics Committee has already given approval for this device on 15 October 2019 which is a sort of low-end ventilator.

He alleged Mahindra’s approached in the name of national emergency of COVID 19 (through emails) and patriotism and copied the innovation in 48 hours.

A statement by a doctor’s union said that they are starting a social media drive and will appeal to Prime Minister’s Office as well as other high officials to intervene and protect the interests of young researchers and innovators in the country from claws of these big sharks. “This is against patent laws and demoralising for young innovators and researchers of premiere institutes of the country,” the union said.

On his part, Dr Chauhan said he had come across people facing difficulty in obtaining ventilators due to overall shortage of ventilators in PGIMER’s Intensive Care Unit.

“I collaborated with a small start-up company Gyrodrive Machineries Ltd, Pune with two young enthusiastic engineer pass outs of IISc Bangalore, Eshan Dhar and Akash Gaddamwar. From last one year we have been working on this project and filed patent after we were ready with our basic prototype on 22 December 2019,” he said.

Chauhan said when Prime Minister made an appeal to the nation so as to fight this crisis situation and highlighted the dearth of ventilators in hospitals throughout India, his engineer partners approached various companies on 22 March 2020 for getting support for the production of their low-cost device which will be of great help in the ongoing crisis.

“We got revert mail from Anand Mahindra, the owner of Mahindra and Mahindra on the same day. He constituted a team of Mr. Goenka Pawan, Anish Shah, Rajesh Jejurikar and Ashok Jhunjhunwala (IIT Chennai) and they kept us in loop on email,” he said.

Chauhan said later on Mr Nasir Deshmukh, head of manufacturing for MHEL, called him and asked to share details of our project on WhatsApp. “To my surprise the day we shared brief details of our device on 23 March 2020 and within a time span of 48 hours Anand Mahindra posted a video on twitter, in which Nasir Deshmukh was seen to demonstrate almost similar device that was a copy of the mechanism we shared with them. In the name of charity and patriotism they invited ideas from people all over country and finally launched their own device which is really shameful and not expected from such a big Company,” he said.

Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra, on 27 March, took to Twitter and applauded the engineers from his company who have been involved in making the prototypes of a low-cost ventilator.

“So, so proud of our Kandivali & Igatpuri teams who confined themselves to the factories & without sleep produced this in 48 hrs. With humility, we will seek guidance from specialists on the usefulness of the device. Whatever the outcome, they have shown India fights back…,” he had tweeted.