PGIMER doctor accuses Mahindras of stealing his low-cost ventilator design

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NEW DELHI: A PGIMER Chandigarh professor has accused business house Mahindra and Mahindra of stealing his idea of a low-cost ventilator. Dr Rajeev Chauhan, assistant professor, at PGI has been working on the ventilator design for the last one year with experts from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. The Mahindra group has denied this allegation.

“We had started work on this device which would act as an automatic respiratory device and could be a low cost solution in cases where hospitals or medical establishments cannot afford ventilators,” Dr Chauhan said adding that he had sent legal notice to the firm.

He added that he had uploaded details of the prototype in January this year and patent clearances came in March. In the meantime, with the spread of the pandemic, the group began talks with Mahindra for large-scale production. Dr Chauhan said that representatives from the business house took details of his invention and 48 hours later introduced the ambu bag as their own product.

When contacted Mahindra spokesperson denied this saying that they had in fact developed their product following open source designs from a variety of sources. In a statement the company said, “We would like to confirm, categorically, that Mahindra has no intention to make any profit from the manufacture of respirators and we have no intention of continuing to make them after the end of this pandemic, as this is completely unconnected to our mainstream businesses. In addition, as soon as our design in approved, we will make our design ‘Open Source’ which means any individual, institute or company can start making them in the future as a for-profit business, should they so desire. Which is why it’s so unfortunate that allegations of IP violation are being made in this context. Particularly since we have only used information in the public domain and our own capabilities and skills in designing our respirator prototype.”

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