PATENT AGENT EXAMINATION – 2016
Indian Academy of Law & Management
The much awaited announcement on Patent Agent Examination – 2016 has been made.
This year’s Patent Agent Exams will be held on 27th November, 2016 (Sunday) and candidates have till October 27 as deadline to apply for the exams.
27th October, 2016
Since the inception of Patent Agent Examination in the year 2000, it has been marred in controversies and litigations. Till the year 2003, it was not necessary for Advocates to appear in a Patent Agent Examination and they merely had to register themselves under the Patent Act, 1970.
Keeping in view the Global Practice, the Patent Rules were amended and the new amendments in 2003 barred lawyers from sitting in the exams, and it prescribed a minimum of sciences degree as an eligibility.
However, examinations were always conducted in time (except for 2009 and 2012). Infact, for the years 2007 and 2008, the Patent Office conducted examination twice in a year. The last patent agent examination conducted by the Indian Patent Office was in the year 2013. And there is no explanation given for the delay in conducting the examinations thereafter.
For the last more than three years, the present incumbent Government has initiated several programs, such as Make in India, Start Up India and Digital India. All these Government Programs have direct bearings on the Research, Development and Innovation culture among Indian enterprises.
The non-conducting of the Patent Agent Examination has led to a huge gap between Government’s encouragement on Innovation on one-hand, and providing resources to protect such innovations. Most of the current Patent Agents are extremely busy as they are over burdened with the current and new volume of work. The new work is not being distributed fairly among new Patent Attorneys, thus, creating immense crunch of talent in delivering high volume and quality Patent work.
In March 2013, the Madras High Court stipulated that lawyers having science background (B.Sc) need not appear in the Patent Agent Examination and they will automatically become Patent Agents upon requesting a registration.
This judgement has not gone down well with the Patent Office and it seems that they stopped conducting the examination altogether. There was a rumor that Patent Office has gone in an appeal to Supreme Court of India against this judgement. However, on repeated seeking information, the Patent Office has not provided any SLP-number or any details of such an appeal.
Since there is no reversal or stay on the judgement, there are chances that officials of Indian Patent Office can be held responsible for contempt proceedings, in case they do not give effect to such an order by Honorable High Court of Madras.
Another (plausible) explanation for not conducting Patent Agent Examination since 2013 has been that the Patent Office has been extremely ‘Busy’. The Patent Rules have been amended twice and also official fees has been raised twice in last 2 years.
The Indian Patent Office has also gone on a hiring spree and recruited more than 300 examiners to clear the backlog. Recently, the Patent rules were amended again in May, 2016 in response to Government Programs on Startups.
A panel of consultants was formed to support the startups in India and thus the Patent Agent Examination has been thrown to a low priority work.
Indeed, the stakes in Patent Agent Examination are high. It is one of the most lucrative profession in the world. Infact, the Patent Attorneys in the United States are the highest paid Attorneys charging anything between USD 500 to USD 1500 per hour.
The average civil damages arising out of Patent disputes in United States has risen to USD 7.3 Million (Rupees 48.9 crores) in the year 2015. The highest Patent damages have been awarded in ‘Centocor, Inc. et al v. Abbott Laboratories, 07 cv 00139, E.D.T in an infringement of a patented drug by Abbott Laboratory’s for an amount of USD 1.67 billion (approximately Rupees Eleven Thousand crores).
As per sections 127 and 128 of the Indian Patent Act,1970 a Patent Agent has several obligations, including drafting and filing patent applications, prosecution and reply to office action, prior art searches, freedom to operate searches, infrangibility opinions and patent valuation.
Thus, being a Patent Agent offers immense national and international career opportunities that has attracted science students and young lawyers to this important part of Intellectual Property.
The eligibility criteria in the Patent Agent Examination – 2016 has been kept as minimum degree in any sciences or engineering stream.
Indian Academy of Law & Management wishes all the candidates with a good luck to succeed in the Patent Agent Examination.
IALM is also providing online coaching, mentoring and guidance to students who are appearing for the examination this year.
Indian Academy of Law & Management (IALM)
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