SpicyIP Tidbit: Proposed ‘Legal Services Board’ to cover even ‘Patent Agents’

Sometime last week the Ministry of Law and Justice had released a draft bill entitled “Legal Practitioners (Regulations and Maintenance of Standards in Professions, Protecting the Interest of Clients and Promoting the Rule of Law) Act, 2010” inviting comments from all interested stakeholders.

The Bill proposes to establish a Legal Services Board, a Consumer Panel and an Ombudsman to help regulate not only the legal services sector but also the Bar Councils themselves with the power to even publicly censure the Bar Councils.

Most importantly however the definition of ‘Legal Professionals’ in Section 2(d) of the proposed Bill covers even ‘trademark and patent services’. Readers may remember that we had previously raised the issue of patent agents being a relatively unregulated sector, save for the qualifying examination.

Currently the only way to take action against a patent agent for deficient or negligent services is to file a civil lawsuit for negligence. However with the setting up of the Ombudsman a wronged client will find it signficantly easier to demand action against the Patent Agent. Hopefully patent agents in India will organize themselves and participate in the process to ensure that their interests are protected in the new setup.

Prashant Reddy

Prashant Reddy

T. Prashant Reddy graduated from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, with a B.A.LLB (Hons.) degree in 2008. He later graduated with a LLM degree (Law, Science & Technology) from the Stanford Law School in 2013. Prashant has worked with law firms in Delhi and in academia in India and Singapore. He is also co-author of the book Create, Copy, Disrupt: India's Intellectual Property Dilemmas (OUP).

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