Apparently, the old order had been issued by Chandrasekhar, the ex Controller in 2006, but had been largely forgotten. Which is why Kurian’s practice of opening up his administration to the public and putting up all his orders on the website for public viewing is an excellent practice.
We’re particularly pleased with this development, since many of the requests that we put forward in our public petition to the IPO are slowly bearing fruit. Specifically, we had requested that all prosecution history be made public. And that barring the confidential reports of examiners under section 144, every other document relating to the patent process ought to be made public. We even prepared a note outlining why such publishing of information would be perfectly legal under Indian law.
When I look back, I realise that SpicyIP did not have many good things to say about the Indian patent office, ever since we began blogging in 2005. However, PH Kurian’s appointment changed our perception..and indeed the perception of many an individual that had hitherto been watching the decay of the IPO with some concern. CH Unni brings out some of these aspects in his excellent interview with the IPO Chief.
A large part of why the Kurian administration appeals to us specifically is its sustained focus on transparency. For an increase in transparency will inevitably bring more skeletons out of the closet and engender more accountability. And is perhaps the cheapest way of achieving a more accountable and efficient administration.
Since his appointment, the Controller General has issued the following “public” orders to further transparency. Copies of these are available on the IPO website and I want to thank Prakruthi Gowda for painstakingly putting together this list:
Circular No.CG/GE/2009/171 dated 17.03.2009: The Circular banned the entry of retired officials of the IPO from visiting the IPO office and working as unauthorized agents.
Circular No.CG/GE/2009/282 dated 26.03.2009: This circular stated that all patent agents and lawyers would be issued identity cards with photographs. These identity cards were to be produced for the purposes of entering IPO premises.
Circular No.CG/PG/Circular/2009/223 dated 26.05.2009: The circular sought to prevent unauthorized and illegitimate persons from prosecuting applications in IP offices. The circular instructed officials to ensure the bona fides of the persons prosecuting.
Circular No.CG/PG/Circular/2009/30 dated 03.06.2009: This circular directs all controllers to issue “speaking” orders while rejecting pre-grant oppositions and consequently granting a patent.
Circular No.CG/PG/Circular/2009/158 dated 19.06.2009: The circular requires all Group A & B Officials of the Indian Patent Office to give a list of their close relatives (close relatives include father, mother, sister, brother, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, co-brother, sister-in-law and first cousins) who are Patent agents, Trademark agents or practicing IP lawyers. The circular stated that this was to ensure that such officers do not deal with their close relatives in any official matters directly.
Circular No.CG/PG/2009/179 dated 24.12.2009: The Circular requires all patentees and licensees to furnish information in Form 27 on the working of patents as prescribed under Section 146 of the Patents Act read with Rule 131 of the Patents Rules. The circular mandated submission of the information before 31st March 2010.
Circular No.CG/PG/Office order/2010/233 dated 12.01.2010: The order noted that the inspection of documents as per Section 11(A)(6)(b) of the Patents Act read with Rule 27 was restricted only to the complete specification, abstract and drawings as filed along with the application. Copies of the amended specification if any were not being allowed for inspection and copies were not allowed to be supplied to the public. This practice contravened the Patents Act and therefore had to be discarded.
This Circular therefore clarifies that the right procedure under Rule 27 is to provide the specification as on the date of a Rule 27 application and not the specification as filed along with the original patent application.