The Draft Patents (2nd Amendment) Rules, 2024, seek to introduce amendments to the existing patent rules in several key aspects, aiming to streamline adjudication procedures for certain penalties related to patent law contraventions or defaults. The significant amendments include the establishment of rules and procedures for adjudication of penalties, appointment of Adjudicating Officers, initiation of complaint procedures, conduct of summary proceedings, and the method of preferring an appeal.

Key highlights of the proposed amendments are as follows:

1.Definitions:Several new definitions, such as “Adjudicating Officer,” “appellant,” “Appellate Authority,” and “Complainant”, are introduced to clarify roles and terms relevant to the amended rules.

2.Introduction of a New Chapter: A new Chapter XIV titled “Adjudication of Certain Penalties” is proposed to be added to the principal rules. This chapter outlines the process for adjudication of contraventions or defaults related to specific sections of the Act.

  • Complaint Filing Procedure : Rule 107A introduces the procedure for filing a complaint under Form 32 to the Adjudicating Officer regarding contraventions or defaults under sections 120, 122, or 123 of the Act, accompanied by necessary evidence.
  • Appointment of Adjudicating Officer:Rule 107B specifies the Controller’s authority to appoint an Adjudicating Officer and introduces that the Adjudicating Officer shall have the powers of a civil court, which include summoning witnesses, compelling document production, and acting as a public servant under section 21 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
  • Summary Proceedings:Rules 107C and 107D elaborate on procedures for summary proceedings based on the maintainability of complaints, service of notices, written submissions by the opposite party, and the manner of holding inquiries.
  • Extension of Time Period:Provision for extending the time period, hearing procedures, and inquiry powers of the Adjudicating Officer are detailed in Rule 107D.
  • Appeals:Rules 107E to 107H introduce procedures for preferring appeals, registration, disposal, and the process followed by the Appellate Authority. Various forms (Form 32, Form 33) are prescribed for filing complaints and appeals.

3.Revision in Fee Structure: Amendments in the First Schedule include the introduction of fees for complaints and appeals against orders differentiated for natural persons and large entities.

  • Complaint for contravention or default of sections 120, 122, or 123- Fees for natural person/MSME/Start-up/Educational Institute is INR 10,000 and for large entities INR 50,000. The relevant Form is Form 32.
  • Appeal against an order passed by the adjudicating officer- Fees for natural person/MSME/Start-up/Educational Institute is INR 10,000 and for large entity INR 50,000. The relevant Form is Form 33.

4.Introduction of New Forms: New forms (Form 32, Form 33) are proposed for specific purposes like filing complaints and appeals under the amended rules.

  • Form 32. (Section 124A, rule 107A)- Complaint for contravention or default of sections 120, 122, or 123.
  • Form 33.(Appeal against an order passed by the adjudicating officer)- Section 124B, rule 107E.

5.Form 14 amended by incorporating new relevant sections.

These proposed amendments aim to establish a comprehensive framework for adjudicating penalties related to patent law contraventions, defining procedures, roles, and requisite forms to ensure effective enforcement and resolution within the patent system.

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