The Controller General of Patents has released a list of ‘Scientific Advisors’ who can advise Courts on the scientific and technical aspects of patent litigation. Courts have the power to appoint such advisors under Section 115 of the Patents Act, 1970.
The Controller General had published a notice inviting applications for these positions on 10 September, 2009. The notice and application for the same can be accessed over here and here. Applications were sought in four classes of advisors, with the minimum requirements being atleast 15 years of experience in their respective field of expertise:
1. Chemistry & Allied Sciences
2. Biotechnology & Microbiology
3. Mechanical & Allied Subjects
4. Electrical, Electronics and Related Subjects
The final list consists of 14 in the first category, 7 in the second category, 7 in the third category and 7 in the fourth category.
I was surprised to see that the list contains some registered ‘Patent Agents’. Although there is no statutory bar against ‘patent agents’ being empanelled, one would think that there might be a conflict of interest for them to appear on such a list.
The publication of this list could not have come at a more appropriate time since I was informed earlier today that the Delhi High Court in a couple of patent infringement suits has ordered the appointment of ‘scientific advisors’ at the interim stage itself. I wish I could have updated you on the actual order but the Delhi High Court has stopped posting daily orders on its website. Given the important role that the scientific advisor will be playing in the future, the Patent Office could probably evolve a code of conduct for such advisors.