Misuse of post-grant opposition proceedings

A recent decision by the Controller highlights the use (or rather misuse) of post grant opposition proceedings at the IPO.  
In Pfizer Health vs. Ranbaxy Labs. Ltd., the Controller had initially dismissed pre-grant opposition proceedings brought in by Ranbaxy after providing an opportunity and granted the patent. Subsequently, Ranbaxy filed a post-grant opposition  (against Indian patent number 211539) with a written statement and evidence – within the prescribed time limits.  The patentee then filed reply statement and evidence.  Ranbaxy neither filed reply evidence nor attended the hearing. 
While dismissing the post-grant opposition, the Controller observed that Ranbaxy had claimed to be an interested person for filing the post-grant opposition but did not show any interest subsequent to the filing.  
The Controller reasoned, that the post-grant opposition proceedings were misusing the provisions of the Patent Act because, “[T]he purpose of the provision in the Act is defeated when the opponent failed to continue with the post-grant opposition proceedings.”  The decision clarified that the scope of a post-grant opposition is much narrower than a pre-grant opposition  where any person may provide information to the controller to decide the fate of the application.  
Finally, the decision cautioned bringing in “frivolous” opposition proceedings because such proceedings, “unnecessarily put more workload on the patent administration, which also creates a suspicion on the opponent for misusing the provisions of the Act.  The opponent should stop this sort of practice in future at least in the post-grant stage for smooth running of the administration.”

The decision can be accessed here with patent number 211539.

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