"Grant or rejection of patent is serious matter": Delhi High Court slams Assistant Controller of Patents for 'cut-and-paste' order

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The court observed that such “cut-and-paste” orders do little justice to the solemn functions entrusted to the officers.

The Delhi High Court recently while rejecting a patent application expressed its anguish over the order passed by the Assistant Controller of Patents and Designs. The court observed that such rejection orders cannot be passed mechanically.

The court observed that any decision to grant or refuse a patent has to be granted by “due application of mind” which must be reflected in the decision.

The single judge bench of Justice C Hari Shankar while hearing a plea moved by Dolby International AB criticized the order passed by the Assistant Controller and rejected the application for grant of patent.

“This Court is, frankly, aghast at the manner in which the impugned order has been passed,” said the single judge.

The court proceeded to replicate the whole challenged decision and examine it paragraph by paragraph before deciding that there was only one statement in the ten-page order that could be compared to any type of logic.

The court further observed that the impugned order was ‘most unsatisfactorily drawn up’ and it was hardly possible to ‘treat it as written or drafted’.

The court remarked that it was "impossible to comprehend" where in the order the reference to the claims began, which section refered to the First Examination Report (FER), and where the reasoning of the Assistant Controller was to be found.

“The Assistant Controller appears to be thoroughly confused both as to the nature of the claim for which the application was made as well as objections raised in the FER and in the notice of hearing… In fact, the impugned order reflects that parts – often incomplete – of various documents have been randomly cut and pasted together, leaving the reader of the order to divine, for himself, the reason why,” the high court said.

Justice Shankar added that the officers in the office of the Controller of Patents and Designs must bear in mind the fact that the grant or rejection of a patent is a serious matter.

Court further said that solely because of the arbitrary manner of passing the order, the court was not in a position to examine it on merits.

In addition, the court underlined that the officer adjudicating the claim for registration of a patent must keep in mind that the life of a patent is calculated from the date of the application, not the date the patent is awarded.

“The impugned order, which cannot be said to satisfy even the most fundamental requisites of an order adjudicating on a claim for registration of a patent is, therefore, quashed and set aside,” the court said.

The case was then sent back to the Controller of Patents for reconsideration. In addition, it was stressed that the subject would not be decided by the same officer, and it was ordered that the reconsideration be concluded within two months. The judge stressed that the new consideration would be entirely unaffected by the previous ruling.

Case Title: Dolby International AB vs. The Assistant Controller of Patents and Designs