Getting "Technical" at the IPAB: Parmar vs Rengaswamy

A little birdie informs me that the government will soon be filling up the “technical member” slot at the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB). And that the key contenders to this prized position are two Controllers who now work at the Indian Patent Office, namely DPS Parmar and V Rengaswamy.
Rengaswamy decided the patentability of the Novartis “Glivec” patent application at the first instance.

We wish them the very best of luck in this coveted battle. And hope that our readers will come back on who they think is better suited to this adjudicatory position that will entail tackling complicated patent law concepts.

However, I wonder why no leading patent practitioners are gunning for this position? As some of you may know, the eligibility criteria provide that any patent attorney with 10 years of experience are eligible for this post.

On another note, I don’t recollect seeing any announcement of this vacancy at the IPAB. Did this advertisement appear in a newspaper? If so, can those of you in the know please refer us to the same?

And lastly, one hopes that nomenclature does not come in the way of a free and fair adjudication i.e. a “technical” member ought not to get overly “technical” with the law in a bid to do justice to his title. Let me leave you with the wise words of Peter Prescott J who valiantly held forth on the sheer impossibility of defining terms such as “technical” and “technology”:

“The more you try, the more you will discover what a horribly imprecise concept it is. Many have tried to frame an acceptable definition, but to the best of my knowledge none have succeeded. It is like the equally vexing question, “What is Art?”. The hard truth is this: concepts of that sort have no existence, and words of that sort have no meaning, except by human convention; but human beings are hopelessly in disagreement at the margin. And it is, precisely, at the margin of uncertainty that cases come up for decision.”

ps: image from here

Shamnad Basheer

Shamnad Basheer

Prof (Dr) Shamnad Basheer founded SpicyIP in 2005. He is currently the Honorary Research Chair of IP Law at Nirma University and a visiting professor of law at the National Law School (NLS), Bangalore. He is also the Founder of IDIA, a project to train underprivileged students for admissions to the leading law schools. He served for two years as an expert on the IP global advisory council (GAC) of the World Economic Forum (WEF). In 2015, he received the Infosys Prize in Humanities in 2015 for his work on legal education and on democratising the discourse around intellectual property law and policy. The jury was headed by Nobel laureate, Prof Amartya Sen. Professional History: After graduating from the NLS, Bangalore Professor Basheer joinedAnand and Anand, one of India’s leading IP firms. He went on to head their telecommunication and technology practice and was rated by the IFLR as a leading technology lawyer. He left for the University of Oxford to pursue post-graduate studies, completing the BCL, MPhil and DPhil as a Wellcome Trust scholar. His first academic appointment was at the George Washington University Law School, where he served as the Frank H Marks Visiting Associate Professor of IP Law. He then relocated to India in 2008 to take up the MHRD Chaired Professorship in IP Law at WB NUJS, a leading Indian law school. Prof Basheer has published widely and his articles have won awards, including those instituted by ATRIP and the Stanford Technology Law Review. He is consulted widely by the government, industry, international organisations and civil society on a variety of IP issues. He also serves on several government committees.


  1. AvatarKumar

    On another note, I don’t recollect seeing any announcement of this vacancy at the IPAB. Did this advertisement appear in a newspaper? If so, can those of you in the know please refer us to the same?

    i am really suprised to hear from you. but nay way it happens to all.

    i came to knew that IP Global solution man Arora who is a patent practitioners had also attended the interview and i came to knew that Arora and Kardham are only contenders.

    bad luck to v.rengasamy due to court cases by chennai officers.

    any way best of luck to Kardham who if appointed will go upto the level of vice chairman who had age to rise upto that level. but he never like trnasfers in patent office, so i could not guess how he will like to take IPAB technical member post which is in chennai.

    any way best of luck to him.

  2. AvatarAnonymous

    Dear Mr Baseer,
    You should have also highlighted the people who are promoted to the post of Board members in ” Board of Appeal ” in USPTO & EPO. You will see why people who have actually dealt with Patent practically for long time are selected for the posts. Sadly Mr Parmaar never examined any Patent application in his life time , neither decided any case. All what he has is- jacks in the ministry by which he has got fast promotions still now. He was alone given the duty to operationalise the ISA/ IPEA with full independence . Whats the result?? A big zero . Why no action against him? all due to his jacks in ministry !

  3. AvatarAnonymous

    I think there should be two technical members in order to render Justice!!!!!!!!!!!!!. One to handle Chemical & related cases and another to handle Mechanical, Electronics and related technology. I don’t think the out going technical member Chandrasekar could have handled any hard core chemistry cases. This will also reduce the backlog at IPAB. People who has influence at ministry should convey this at this right stage.

  4. Avatarkumar

    if parmar was selected it is a bad sellection. if only pan punjabi icon is enough to get a IPAB technical member then it is very bad in this open world. when compared to the people attended the invterview parmar was the lowest graded controller by the patent office insiders and outsiders aswell u can read the first comment. any way it is bad to the system but we can do any thing only we can write here. so i am happy i can atleast express my views.

  5. Avatarkumar

    as last anonymous said there should be two technical member with engg and non-engg back ground to render the justice more clear. i could not understand y TM members are more. number cases may be more but one person is enugh to judge TM. but unfortunately the people who designed had designed for only one patent member so atleast that should be perfect otherwise if wrong selections take place it will create a bad impression before the world IP community. so i think the selction commitee will take into consideration of all the facts. hopping for the best selction. my choice goes with kardham or rengasamy.

  6. AvatarAnonymous

    Disgusting completely disgusting!

    Parmar, Rengaswamy and Kardem are nothing more than mere bureaucrats. There knowledge and skills cannot meet the average knowledge of people practicing patents in corporate R&D or working in R&D labs. We need technical member sound enough to understand and familiar with state of the art.

    Guys we are talking about Technical Member at Appellate Board level not some clerical level. I bet if you make all of this three sit in public and ask technically qualified scientists, engineers and patent experts to cross-check their ease with technology or even patent law they will fail miserably. It will be very unfortunate if technical member position is offered to any of these non-deserving candidates. Government is making full mockery of word ‘TECHNICAL MEMBER’.

  7. AvatarAnonymous

    Mr. Parmar is senior most Dy Controller in Indian Patent office. For equivalent post of technical member for Trade Marks Act requires the person to be appointed should have a post of Joint Registrar for not less than five years. Mr Parmar is due for promotion to Joint Controller, which will be equivalent to joint Registrar. So, if parity with the post of Joint Registrar is to be maintained, he is the closest candidate who can claim parity. Indian Patent Office,is expert in examining and granting patents and therefore,it will be very difficult for technical member to reverse the finding of IPO, unless there is a strong apparent error is committed.Keeping in view the various comments above, expertise of Indian Patent is not likely to be question and it will a morale booster for hard working examiners and controllers of IPO. It will also help in Applicants/Patentee to more concentrate on research to further inventions,once an adverse finding has been given by Indian Patent Office, rather than going for appeal.
    On the other hand attorney/patent Practitioner who had harrowing time will be happy, that Mr Parmar is out of Patent Office. This will be win win situation.

  8. AvatarAnonymous

    @Anonymous: “Morale booster for hard working examiners and controllers” which patent office are you referring to? Is it Indian Patent Office? Better spend a week in the Indian Offices to corroborate your statement? Word is pathetic that has to be rightly used for IPO.

    It will be better rather questioning Applicants to concentrate on research, ask Exminers and Controllers to improve their technical and patent law expertise.

  9. AvatarAnonymous

    The advertisement for the post of technical member IPAB appeared in the Hindustan times Delhi edition of 4th of September 2010 and last date of submission of the form was 4th of October 2010

  10. AvatarAnonymous

    I agree that we do need quality Technical members. Anyone chosen from Patent Office stream cannot be expected to do full justice to the position; how can he look at his junior colleagues decisions and reverse them and are they prepared to do that? If any Patent office controller is chosen, approaching the IPAB would be like moving from Ceaser to Ceaser’s wife. No justice at the end of the dAY!!


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