Who is a patent agent?
A patent agent is a licensed professional who assists the inventors with the patent applications involved in their invention. In India, patent prosecution can only be done by a registered patent agent. He is authorized to prosecute the patent applications on behalf of the inventor and draft work involved in the process. His duties include the mandate to advise and assist the inventor with the registration process and the preparation of files. A patent agent may provide the patentability opinions to the inventors and take charge of all the patenting process’s formalities. A patent agent is an expert in both the scientific field and the legal knowledge because the patenting process involves the best of both the domains—a registered patent agent practices before the Indian Patent Office.
Indian Patent Act, 1970 enables the applicant to file for the patent application. It also allows any advocate who is not a patent agent in India to appear before the Controller under the Act. However, the art of patent drafting and application is a task of precision, so a specialist in the domain must carry it on, i.e., the patent agent as the process of filing oppositions, participating in the proceedings and replying to the objections raised requires precision and high standard of quality. It is where the experience of a patent agent comes into play.
Section 126 of the Indian Patents Act, 1970 lays down qualifications for being a registered patent agent. The statutory qualifications are-
Applicant must be a citizen of India.
Must have completed the age of 21 years.
Must have obtained a degree in science, engineering, or technology from any recognized University established under the law for the time being in force in India’s territory.
Must have passed the patent agent exam prescribed for the purpose or has functioned as an examiner or acted as the Controller under Section 73 of the Act for a period not less than ten years or both, but does not hold any capacity the time of applying for the purpose.
Section 127 of the Indian Patents Act, 1970 enumerates the role of the patent agent.
It says a registered patent agent-
shall practice before the Controller.
shall prepare the documents, discharge, and transact all the business and the other functions in connection to any proceeding before the Controller under the Act.
All the applications and communications made to the Controller by virtue of this Act shall be signed by a patent agent authorized in writing. In case the patent agent is currently outside India’s territory, the patent agent authorised by him shall sign and verify the writings on his behalf. Thus, the Act warrants the importance of a patent agent concerning patent applications and prosecution. It has kept the people from non-legal backgrounds to register themselves as patent agents open. The only requirements for the post are that the applicant must have a degree in science, technology, or engineering.
Benefits of patent agent registration-
Patent agent registration is crucial for the enforcement of the rights of the inventors. The field of Intellectual Property Rights has seen exponential growth in recent years, and there is a need for professionals to help protect the rights of inventors. Documentation, filing, registration, and the associated paperwork of the registration is done by the patent agent. The patent agent is an expert in the science and technology field; thus, it fastens the patent filing process before the Controller Office. A patent agent registration is a better alternative to an advocate as a patent agent is an expert in the field. He understands better the inventor’s needs and the business goals necessary for commercialization in comparison to an advocate. The patent agent shall also advise other aspects of patent protection and suggest the best type of patent serving the purpose.
Data on the patent agents-
The data on patent agents can be accessed easily through the link ipindia.nic.in. Current data on the website lists more than 6000 patent agents and their patent agent IDs, area of specialization, and postal address of the patent agents. The interface is open for all to establish the transparency in the process and make sure the inventor has the right to choose his patent agent as per the area of specialization and the type of patent protection that meets the demand of the inventor.
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