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Fate of non reasoned Order Passed by the Controller of Patents: The Scope of Interference by High Court

This analytical legal article delves into the fate of an order passed by the Controller of Patents, which was challenged in the High Court of Delhi through an appeal filed under Section 117A of the Patents Act, 1970. The appeal sought to challenge the rejection of a patent application filed by the appellant for an invention titled "Minimizing feedback by sending a quality indicator for a nonrestrictive reuse set and a vectored quality indicator for other reuse sets." The crux of the appeal lies in the Controller's failure to address the submissions made by the appellant during the patent examination process.

The patent application in question (no. 5159/DELNP/2007) was filed on 4 July 2007. Subsequently, the Patent Office raised objections to the application, prompting the appellant to submit responses to these objections on 19 December 2012. A hearing was granted to the appellant on 3 December 2014. However, despite the appellant's submissions and the hearing, the Deputy Controller of Patents and Designs passed an order on 31 October 2016 rejecting the patent application.

The pivotal issue raised in the appeal before the High Court of Delhi was the lack of proper reasoning in the Controller's order. The order acknowledged the receipt of responses from the appellant but failed to address the contents of these submissions. Notably, there was no indication that the Controller examined the merits of the appellant's responses or engaged with the arguments put forth.

Furthermore, the order revealed that the Deputy Controller concurred with the findings of the Examiner, yet no reasons were provided for this agreement. Additionally, the order did not make any observations or findings regarding the appellant's response to the Examiner's objections. This deficiency led to a manifest non-application of mind on the part of the Controller and rendered the order ex facie unreasoned.

High Court's Ruling
Upon hearing the appeal, the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi took a critical stance on the Controller's order. The court observed that an order that fails to address the submissions made by the party challenging the decision suffers from a fundamental flaw manifest non-application of mind. In other words, when an authority adjudicating a matter overlooks or ignores crucial submissions by a party, it indicates that the decision-making process was flawed.

The court went on to emphasize that such an inadequately reasoned order cannot stand either in law or on facts. It not only violates the principles of natural justice, which dictate that parties be given a fair opportunity to be heard and that their submissions be duly considered, but also undermines the efficacy of the patent system.

Patent examination and grant procedures necessitate meticulous scrutiny of the application and the arguments presented, and the absence of proper reasoning can lead to arbitrary and unjust decisions.

In conclusion, the fate of an order passed by the Controller of Patents, when it fails to address the submissions made by the appellant, is likely to be set aside and remanded for de novo adjudication.

The case at hand exemplifies the importance of reasoned decision-making and the application of mind by the patent authorities. The High Court of Delhi's ruling sends a strong message that orders lacking proper reasoning and non-consideration of submissions will not be tolerated.

The judgment highlights the significance of transparency, accountability, and adherence to principles of natural justice in the patent examination process. Patent applicants are entitled to fair treatment and a thorough assessment of their claims.

Consequently authorities responsible for adjudicating patent matters must ensure that their orders are reasoned, well-grounded, and take into account all relevant submissions before rendering a decision. Failure to do so can result in the invalidation of the order and the need for reevaluation.

The Case Law Discussed:
Name of Hon'ble Judge: Qualcomm Incorporated Vs Controller of Patent
Date of Judgement:24.07.2023
Case No.CA Comm IPD PAT 285 of 2023
Neutral Citation:2023:DHC:5136
Name of Hon'ble Court:High Court of Delhi

Information contained herein is being shared in the public Interest. The same should not be treated as substitute for legal advice as it is subject to my subjectivity and may contain human errors in perception, interpretation and presentation of the facts and law involved herein.

Written By: Advocate Ajay Amitabh Suman, IP Adjutor - Patent and Trademark Attorney
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9990389539

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