The development of Intellectual Property law has allowed people to protect their innovative ideas and profit from them and has opened up several career options. Out of many career options, one such option is becoming a patent agent. Patent Agents are agents authorized by law, involved in drafting and filing patent applications. Before starting as a Patent Agent, one needs to register as per the Patent Rules. Registration of Patent Agents in India can be done easily, which shall be discussed further in this article.
Meaning and Role of Patent Agent
As per Section 2(1)(n) of the Patents Act, 1970, a patent agent is “a person for the time being registered under the Act as a patent agent” A patent agent is any person with the required technical and legal skills to prepare and file a patent application. The preparation of the patent application includes preparing required documents, drafting of application etc.
A patent agent acts as a link between the patentee and the patent office by helping the patentee convert his creation into a patentable one and filing the required application before the patent office for its protection. However, to practice as a patent agent, the agent must be registered. Such registration can be done via submitting an application in Form 22 as per Rule 109 of the Patents Rules, 2003.
Eligibility Criteria For Patent Agents In India
Section 126 of the Patents Act, 1970 enumerates the qualifications required for registration of patent agents in India, which are as follows:
- The applicant must be a citizen of India.
- He must have completed the age of 21 years.
- He has paid fees as prescribed by the law.
- He must have obtained a degree in science, engineering or technology from any university established under law in India or must possess qualifications equivalent to the degree specified by the Central Government of India.
- He must have functioned as either an examiner or discharged functions of the Controller or both, for a period not less than 10 years, or passed the qualifying examination as prescribed for this purpose. The capacity as examiner or Controller will cease to exist at the time of making such application.
Procedure for Registration of Patent Agents
The following procedure shall be complied with for the registration of patent agents in India:
Step 1: Application for examination for registration
As per Rule 109 of the Patents Rules, 2003, a person intending to register as a patent agent shall request the Controller to appear for the qualifying examination. The applicant shall make such a request in a letter addressed to the Controller, submitted to the nearest patent office. The letter shall be sent along with the required documents such as proof of citizenship, age proof and documents as per Section 126(1)(c) of the Patents Act, 1970.
The requests are to be made after payment of the requisite fee as provided in the First Schedule. The period for making such payment is mentioned on the official website of the Government of India. The details of the payment shall be provided to the Controller with the registration request.
Moreover, there are no restrictions on the number of times one can apply for the qualifying examinations to become a patent agent.
Step 2: Passing the qualifying examination
A candidate must fulfil the criteria mentioned under Section 126 of the Patents Act, 1970, to give the qualifying examination.
Rule 110 of the Patents Rules,2003, enumerates the particulars of the qualifying examination, which are as follows:
- A written test is conducted by the office of Controller, which comprises Paper- I and Paper-II carrying 100 marks each.
- Paper-I consists of questions regarding the patent act and rules.
- Paper-II consists of questions about drafting and interpretation of patents specification and other related documents.
- A viva is conducted to test the practical knowledge of the applicant, which carries 50 marks.
To pass the qualifying examination, the applicant must secure a minimum of fifty marks in the written test and obtain an aggregate of 60% of the total marks.
The Indian Patent Examination is conducted once every year. The notification related to the exam is provided 2 months before the date on which the exam is to be conducted. The qualifying examination results are announced on the official website created by the Government of India.
Step 3: Registration of Patent Agents by the Controller
After the application is submitted in the prescribed format to the Controller office and the applicant has passed the qualifying examination with required credentials as specified in Rule 110, the Controller enters the name of the applicant in the register of Patent Agents and issues a certificate of registration to him, per Rule 111 of the Patents Rules, 2003. The certificate of registration is valid only in the territory of India.
With the development of intellectual property law, patent agent as a career option is flourishing. People wishing to get a Patent Registration often hire a patent agent since they have the required knowledge and expertise in that field. However, registration must be done as per the rules prescribed by the law to practice as a patent agent. The process of registration of patent agents is lengthy but simple. With the required credentials, anyone can become a patent agent in India.
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