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A Party Can Not Be Allowed To Suffer On Account Of Negligence Of Patent Agent

In a recent writ petition, the petitioner challenged the abandonment of their patent application for a "Blind-Stitch Sewing Machine and Method of Blind Stitching." The patent application, managed by the firm "Delhi Intellectual Property LLP," was deemed abandoned due to a failure to respond to the First Examination Report (FER). This case highlights the critical responsibilities of patent agents and firms in managing patent applications and ensuring proper communication with their clients.

Case Background:
The petitioner filed their patent application through Delhi Intellectual Property LLP, represented by Mr. Chaklan. Despite numerous follow-ups on various dates in 2022 and early 2023, the petitioner did not receive any response from the firm regarding the status of their application. During this period, the petitioner discovered that their application was deemed abandoned due to the non-filing of a response to the FER.

Legal Responsibilities of Patent Agents:
A crucial aspect of this case is the failure of the patent firm to communicate the issuance of the FER to the petitioner. The FER is issued after the Request for Examination (RFE) and contains detailed objections related to novelty, inventive step, and patentability. The patent agent's responsibility is to inform the applicant about the FER and to ensure a timely response is filed.

In this case, the firm failed to inform the petitioner about the FER. There is no evidence on record that the firm communicated the issuance of the FER. The patent agent's claim of having discussed it over a telephonic conversation is insufficient, as there is no documented proof of such communication.

Court's Observation:
The court observed that legal professionals' negligence should not penalize their clients. Citing the precedent from Rafiq v. Munshilal (1981) 2 SCC 788, the court emphasized that a party should not suffer for the inaction, deliberate omission, or misdemeanor of their agent. The court recognized that the firm did not show diligence in managing the petitioner's patent application and failed to fulfill its obligations.

Court's Decision:
Given the circumstances, the court decided that the revival request filed on January 28, 2023, should be entertained by the Patent Office within the extended period of three months. Consequently, the abandonment order was set aside, and the necessary updates were to be made on the CGPDTM website within two weeks.

This case underscores the importance of proper communication and diligence by patent agents and firms. The failure to inform the petitioner about the FER led to the abandonment of the patent application, causing undue stress and potential loss of intellectual property rights for the petitioner. The court's decision to set aside the abandonment order reflects the principle that clients should not suffer due to the negligence of their legal representatives.

Author's Note:
This case serves as a crucial reminder for patent agents and firms to maintain clear and documented communication with their clients. It also highlights the judiciary's role in ensuring that legal professionals' negligence does not unjustly impact their clients. Going forward, it is imperative for legal representatives to adhere strictly to their responsibilities and for clients to stay vigilant about the progress of their applications. The protection of intellectual property rights hinges on the meticulous execution of procedural duties by both parties involved.

Case Citation: Saurav Chaudhary Vs Union of India: 04.07.2024: W.P.(C)-IPD 9/2023:2024:DHC:4946:Delhi High Court: Prathiba M Singh. H.J.

The information shared here is intended to serve the public interest by offering insights and perspectives. However, readers are advised to exercise their own discretion when interpreting and applying this information. The content herein is subjective and may contain errors in perception, interpretation, and presentation.

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

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