Taking the Patent Agent Exam Seriously

We are glad to bring to you a guest post by Dr. Feroz Ali Khader. Dr. Ali is the MHRD IPR Chair Professor at IIT Madras and as a part of the Chair activity, he is offering a free course to provide training for taking the Patent Agent Examination 2016, which is scheduled to take place on November 27, 2016.

Taking the Patent Agent Exam Seriously

Dr. Feroz Ali Khader

On the face of it, the Patent Agents don’t seem to be taken seriously, as a profession, that is. Since the Patents Act, 1970 has been in force, there has been only about 1879 registered patent agents who seem to be interested in continuing with the trade. They are a group of professionals who are required to have a background in science to take a two-part exam on “patent law”. Even after their qualification, a patent agent who has a background in physics will, if called upon, patiently draft a patent covering an invention in biotechnology. And the Patent Office too has not taken the qualifying exam seriously. How else can we explain the three-year hiatus in conducting the exam!

All that is now set to change. The National IPR Policy tells us that the Patent Agent Exam will now be conducted regularly (once every three years is also regular, some may argue). The exam is scheduled to happen on 27th November, 2016 and there seem to be some buzz happening around it. And we now have a free course to help you to take the Patent Agent Examination.

As a part of the IPR Chair activity, I have complied a series of video lectures in the form of a free course titled the Foundations of Patent Law. I have also planned an open house session for doubt clearing before the exam. Those interested can register here.

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18 thoughts on “Taking the Patent Agent Exam Seriously”

  1. The Patent Office annual report of 2014-15 says there are 2414 registered patent agents. Wondering how and where you got the number 1879.

    1. Hi Vinit, 1879 is the total number of patent agents whose renewal is valid. You can access the entire list here (http://ipindiaservices.gov.in/Agentregister/patent-agent.aspx). And after 2015 close to 200 patent agents were deleted. (You can also access the list of deleted agents in the same link) The total number mentioned (1879) also doesn’t include names which are removed subject to request for restoration. So, I think that should have made the difference in the figures.


    The patent Act should consider the Advocates with graduations in Science / Technology to become patent agent without appearing in the exam, there may be possibility of having more persons to be patent agent

  3. Anoop you are right, Advocates with science background should act as Patent agent. The liabiity of giving exam shall not levy……

    1. Dear Aayush,

      Working as an employee at a law firm specialising in IPR, there are many who have become patent agents without taking the exam as per the rule dating way back, and I have observed that they lack the basic knowledge of the Patent act; which is sad.

      1. Intellectual Property admirer.

        I agree with this. I have seen many of the patent agents too who are patent agents without the proper knowledge of drafting and analytics. I do not believe a mere science background is enough for a lawyer to be a patent agent. It is better to have less number of quality patent agents who have good knowledge about the patent acts and rules, along with drafting experience than pushing towards mere increasing the numbers of patent agents.

      2. Intellectual Property admirer.

        I agree with IP enthusiast. I have seen many patent agents who are patent agents only because of the virtue of their degree (science + law) , and not having knowledge about patent acts and rules, and most importantly drafting. I do believe those who would like to specialize in patent field should have sufficient knowledge in patent drafting (which is not easy to obtain, without practice), and one of the criteria to measure that is patent agent exam. It is better to have quality patent agents who have complete knowledge on patents/IPR than mere increasing the number of patent agents, just through their background.
        Just allowing the law graduates with science degree, without the knowledge of patent process, acts and rules poses problems at different levels, such as inability or limited ability to figure out novelty, inventive step of a concept/idea/process, not able to contribute to invention, not able to provide proper consultation, etc.
        I believe if a person is so keen on this field, let that person just pass that exam!!.


    Thanks to mr anoop and aayush and i feel that the lawyers body should made representation before the Ministry and controller general to allow the advocates with science / technology background to permit them to become patent agent without appearing in the examination

  5. Can any one tell me when is the next patent agent exam and how much interval is going to happen between two exams? Is there any official statement from the govt?

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