More than 18 months after filing a report with the Madras High Court exposing the Central Govt.’s apathy towards the functioning of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB), Justice Prabha Sridevan, has filed another report with the Madras High Court complaining about the continuing apathy of the Central Government to the DIPP. The report can be accessed over here, the older report can be accessed over here.
In any event let’s begin with the good news. The report informs the court, that extra space has been made available in its existing premises and that once the IPAB occupies the same, there is no need for the IPAB to transfer to the new accommodation sanctioned by the DIPP in a different building which is still under construction and which is three times more expensive than the current space.
In more good news, the IPAB chairperson reports that the Ministry of Law and Justice has written to her informing her that the Government of India has initiated steps to ensure the streamlining of all tribunals, especially with regard to the uniformity of appointment and service conditions. The proposal is apparently pending before the Group of Ministers.
The bad news is that the IPAB is seriously under-funded. It has not been given enough funding for holding its circuit holdings. Similarly while the IPAB budgeted a sum of Rs. 1.2 crore for office expenses, it was granted only Rs. 31.8 lakhs. Apparently the sum sanctioned to the IPAB has remained constant in consecutive years and as a result the IPAB has to cut down on circuit hearings.
In more bad news, the appointments procedure is still in the control of the DIPP and the Chairperson of the IPAB has not yet been Chairperson of the Selection Committee which conducts all appointments to the IPAB. Hopefully, now that the wheels of the government have been put into motion we should have a better equipped IPAB in the future. In any event, I recommend that all IP lawyers remember the IPAB during their daily prayers.
A special thanks to Vineet Subramani for sending across a copy of the report. Vineet is now the advocate representing Shamnad in the PIL against the IPAB.