In a recent development, first reported by Kian Ganz of Legally India, the London High Court has reportedly entered a default judgment of £100,000 against Fox Mandal in a lawsuit filed by one of its former clients, Lawrence Karat, alleging professional negligence in a patent prosecution being handled by the law firm. The Legally India story can be read over here.
According to the Legally India report:
Karat claimed that Fox could not retrieve his case files and a power of attorney was misplaced. A new power of attorney was executed by Karat but was allegedly notarised by Fox in India without Karat physically present, which in his view was illegal.
Furthermore, a “proof of right” deadline was missed in the Mumbai patent office, which could lead to a dismissal of the patent, according to Karat.
Apparently Fox Mandal did not put in an appearance before the London court, as a result of which the court entered a default judgement.
It doesn’t give us any pleasure in having to carry this news on the blog but the truth of the matter is that we’ve heard of several cases of missed deadlines in other patent prosecutions and unless IP law firms adopt better docket management techniques we will be hearing of more such law suits.
The case also raises the issue of professional standards and a regulatory body for patent agents in India. Currently there is no procedure to complain against patent agents for possible malpractice. Perhaps the government should propose a mechanism to regulate patent agents.