Qualifications and Disqualifications of Patent Agent

In the field of Intellectual Property rights, patents are one of the most important aspects of securing inventions which can be useful for the public and help the inventor generate money and patent agent is a person who can help you to fulfil this dream.

The filing process of the patent application is complicated because it needs to follow different steps. Although the person can file his patent application by himself sometimes, it may happen that the person who is drafting the patent specification does not belong to the field of patent and there are high chance that he may not secure his invention in a way that he wants to secure it so it is suggested that the person should hire a patent agent who can solve this problem easily.

In this article, we are going to discuss who is a patent agent and what are the qualifications and disqualifications of a patent agent.

Register of Patent Agents (ROPA)

Section 125 of the Patents Act of 1970 deals with the register of patent agents. The controller of patents maintains this register in which he enters the necessary details of all agents who are qualified to have their names in this ROPA.

Content of Register of Patent Agents

The ROPA maintains the following information about every agent:

  • Name,
  • Nationality
  • Address
  • Principal Place of business
  • Address of the branch office
  • Qualifications
  • Date of registration
  • Details of renewal of registration
  • Relevant particulars

The register of the patent will also contain the specimen signatures and photographs of the person registered as patent agent (2 passport size photos, sent with Form 22)

This whole information will be secured in computer floppies or any other electronic form and maintained by the person whom the controller of patents authorizes. Every branch office of the patent office maintains this copy in their office.

Who is a Patent Agent?

A patent agent is a professional person who has cleared the patent agent Examination, and his name is registered in the register of patent agent which is maintained by the patent office. He is entitled to draft and file the patent application on behalf of the application. He has knowledge of the Patents Act and Patent Rules which helps him to file the patent application in the patent office with proper format and rules. 

Qualifications of patent agent

A person who does not have a law degree can also become a patent agent by taking the patent agent Examination. The qualification for such an agent is as follows:

  • The qualifications for patent agents are as follows.
  • He should be a citizen of India.
  • His age must be 21 or more than 21 years.
  • He should have obtained a degree in science, engineering or technology from any university established under the laws for the time being enforced in the territory of India.
  • He must have cleared the patent agent Examination.
  • Functioned as an examiner for a total period of not less than 10 years.
  • Functioned as a controller for a total period of not less than 10 years.

Role of patent agents

A patent agent is a professional person who is entitled to draft and file an agent application on behalf of his client which can be the applicant or inventor of a product or process. A patent agent is a person whose name has been registered in the ROPA maintained by the patent office.

  • He is entitled to practice before the controller of patents.
  • He has the right to prepare all the necessary documents related to the patent application.
  • He can transact all business related to the patent.
  • And he can discharge other duties in correction with the proceedings before the controller of patents. 
  • He is also entitled to advise his client, but this advice should be other than scientific or technical nature.
  • He can give advice related to the validity of a patent or infringement of a patent.
  • A person registered as a patent agent can part in any hearing before the controller on behalf of his client in any proceeding under the Patent Act of 1970. 
  • As a process of drafting a ped application, an agent can also reply to the objection raised by the controller of patents, through examination reports.
  • He can also file opposition and defend the application of his client.

Disqualifications of patent agent

Rule 114 of the patents rule provides the disqualifications of a patent agent. If any of the disqualifications is present with the patent agent, he will be disqualified from all his rights given by the act. Disqualification for patent agents is as follows:

  • If the agent is adjudged of unsound mind by a competent court
  • If the agent is undischarged insolvent
  • The agent is discharged solvent, but he has not obtained a certificate of his insolvency from the court.
  • If he is convicted of an office in India or outside India
  • Guilty of professional misconduct
  • Being a chartered accountant, the agent has been guilty of negligence or misconduct.

These are the disqualifications of the agents that can cause them to remove their names from the register of patent agents.

Removal of name from ROPA

Sometimes the patent office may remove the name of an agent from the ROPA. There are some conditions in which the controller may bleed. The name of an agent from the ROPA such as:

  • If the agent himself requests to remove his name from the register
  • When the agent is dead
  • If the name of the agent was entered mystically in the or the agent has been guilty of misconduct in his professional capacity or sentence to the term of imprisonment
  • The agent has failed to pay the renewal fees.
  • If the agent ceases to be a citizen of India

The controller of patents shall not directly the agent’s name from the register. Before removing the name from the agent shall give a reasonable opportunity of being heard after hearing the agent if the controller is satisfied that his name should be removed from the register then the controller shall publish such information in the official gadget and communicate such information to the person interested. 

Restoration of name in the ROPA

A person whose name has been removed by the controller of patents from the ROPA can apply for the restoration of name as a patent agent by giving Form 23 with a prescribed fee that is ₹1600. In case of online filing, the person needs to file this application within two months from the date of such removal, the agent has also paid the annual fee of ₹800 for the continuance of his name in the register of patent agents. If the controller is satisfied by his application for the restoration, the controller shall re-enter his name in the ROPA so that such person can continue his practice Before the controller. 

Limitations and Ethical Considerations

Patent agents must adhere to strict guidelines regarding conflicts of interest. a patent agent must make the information confidential provided by his client. His professional conduct to maintain the integrity of a patent system must be appreciable because he is the one to whom an applicant discloses his invention first. He must sign the IDF which is an invention disclosure form with his applicant which helps to secure the invention.

FAQs

Can anyone become a patent agent?

No, the person must have a specific educational and professional background and he must have passed the patent agents examination to become a registered patent agent. 

What rights do patent agents have?

Patent agents have the authority to draft and file patent applications, respond to office actions, and communicate with patent examiners on behalf of their clients who have invented a new product or process.

Do ethical standards bind patent agents?

Yes, the agents are subject to strict ethical guidelines that govern their conduct, including their obligations to maintain confidentiality and professional integrity. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, we can say that patent agents are the backbone of Patents because they are the ones who know the exact process of filing patents and are experts in guiding their clients to secure their inventions. By understanding the qualifications, rights and restrictions associated with patent agents, individuals can know the importance of a patent agent in the field of intellectual property rights. 

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