The MoU was entered into between the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) through its Unit for Research and Development of Industrial Products (URDIP) and the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) through the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks (CGPDTM). (Image from here)
As you can see, the MoU was originally signed for a year, which period ended on 30 June 2011. It was thereafter renewed for another year, and is due to end on 30 June 2012, or till the target of 2500 prior art searches for the course of the year is reached, whichever is earlier.
While I leave you to read and analyse the MoU at your leisure, I do take the liberty of highlighting a few issues that stood out —
1. There appears to be no clause that deals with conflict of interest. This stands out in context of CSIR being one of the largest patent filers in the country, as well as point #2 below.
2. CSIR also has the option of offering the similar services to other parties (10.3) without any obligations to CGPDTM. These services include “analysis and evaluation of patents/ inventions/ technology/ know-how/ process/ product/ application/ any form of research output”. While the MoU states that “in carrying out such [services], any information from the activity [carried out under this MoU] shall not be used by CSIR-URDIP”, is this caveat sufficient?
3. In carrying out these searches, CSIR will have access to the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) and other such resources (Annex I). Note that in the ordinary course of work, scientists/researchers do not have access to the TKDL. This gives an interesting twist to the argument on why the TKDL has remained inaccessible (even to researchers) — because “lawyers will somehow find a way out of it” (read this old post for more on this story). It’s funny how lawyers get blamed for everything. Or maybe they get undue credit for their (presumed) ability to work around technical documentation as obscure as the TKDL.
4. One question that non-patent attorneys like myself and others on the blog would like to know is — are search reports de facto examination reports? In Indian Patent Office practice, does substantive examination mandatorily and regularly happen after a prior art search report is issued?, or is there no substantive difference between a prior art search report and an examination report? I am most certainly not the right person to speculate on this, and it would be excellent to get answers from those in the know.
The rest of the MoU, I leave you to digest for the time being. Your thoughts and comments are welcome, so long as they attempt to take this conversation forward, and do not descend into a volley of unconnected personal abuse as was encountered the last time this subject was discussed on this blog.