In India, the patent regime is statutorily based on the Patents Act, 1970 and the Patents Rules, 2003. Section 2 (1) (b) and Section 73 (1) of the Patents Act, 1970 and Section 3 (1) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 provides that the Controller of Patent is the Controller General of Patents, Designs and TradeMark. The Controller is the principal officer responsible for administering the patent system in India. The Controller is the overall supervisor of the four Indian Patent Offices in Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
The Patents Act empowers the Controller with various powers and responsibilities as follows for performing certain duties –
- Section 15 – If the Controller is satisfied that the application or any specification or any other document filed in pursuance thereof does not comply with the requirements of this Act or of any rules made thereunder, the Controller may refuse the application or may require the application, specification or the other documents, as the case may be, to be amended to his satisfaction before he proceeds with the application and refuse the application on failure to do so.
- Section 16 – The Controller can make orders respecting division of application if the the claims of the complete specification relate to more than one invention.
- Section 17 – The Controller can make orders to post-date a patent application upon a request made by the applicant to such date (not later than six months from the date on which the application was actually made) as may be specified in the request.
- Section 18 – The Controller can refuse a patent application in case of in case of anticipation unless the applicant shows to the satisfaction of the Controller that the priority date of the claim of his complete specification is not later than the date on which the relevant document was published or if the applicant amends his complete specification to the satisfaction of the Controller.
- Section 19 – The Controller can direct that a reference to another patent shall be inserted in the applicant’s complete specification by way of notice to the public if he thinks that the patent application’s invention cannot be performed without substantial risk of infringement of a claim of that other patent unless the applicant shows to the satisfaction of the Controller that there are reasonable grounds for contesting the validity of the the claim of the other patent or the complete specification is amended to the satisfaction of the Controller.
- Section 20 – The Controller can direct that the patent application shall proceed in the name of the claimant or in the names of the claimants and the applicant or the other joint applicant or applicants in case if he thinks the claimant would be entitled or to the interest of the applicant or to an undivided share of the patent or of that interest.
- Section 77 – The Controller has the powers of a civil court while trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 in respect of the following matters
a) summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath;
b) requiring the discovery and production of any document;
c) receiving evidence on affidavits;
d) issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents;
e) awarding costs;
f) reviewing his own decision on application made within the prescribed time and in the prescribed manner;
g) setting aside an order passed ex- parte on application made within the prescribed time and in the prescribed manner;
h) any other matter which may be prescribed.
- Section 78 – The Controller has the power to correct any clerical error in any patent or in any specification or other document filed in pursuance of such application or in any application for a patent or any clerical error in any matter which is entered in the register.
- Section 79 – The Controller has the power to take oral evidence in lieu of, or in addition to, evidence by an affidavit, or may allow any party to be cross-examined on the contents of his affidavit.
- Section 81 – The Controller may extend the time for doing any act, nothing in this Act shall be deemed to require him to give notice to or hear the party interested in opposing the extension, nor shall any appeal lie from any order of the Controller granting such extension.
- Section 86 – The Controller may by order adjourn the further hearing of the patent application for such period not exceeding twelve months in the aggregate as appears to him to be sufficient for the invention to be so worked if he is satisfied that the time which has elapsed since the sealing of the patent has for any reason been insufficient to enable the invention to be worked on a commercial scale to an adequate extent or to enable the invention to be so worked to the fullest extent that is reasonably practicable.
- Section 88 – The Controller may order the grant of licences under the patent to such customers of the applicant as he thinks fit as well as to the applicant if he is satisfied on an application made under section 84 that the manufacture, use or sale of materials not protected by the patent is prejudiced by reason of conditions imposed by the patentee upon the grant of licences under the patent, or upon the purchase, hire or use of the patented article or process.
- Section 131 – The Controller may refuse to recognise as agent in respect of any business under this Act –
a) any individual whose name has been removed from, and not restored to, the register;
b) any person who has been convicted of an offence under section 123;
c) any person, not being registered as a patent agent, who in the opinion of the Controller is engaged wholly or mainly; in acting as agent in applying for patents in India or elsewhere in the name or for the benefit of the person by whom he is employed;
d) any company or firm, if any person whom the Controller could refuse to recognise as agent in respect of any business under this Act, is acting as a director or manager of the company or is a partner in the firm. Moreover, the Controller shall refuse to recognise as agent in respect of any business under this Act any person who neither resides nor has a place of business in India.
Section 146 – The Controller may, at any time during the continuance of the patent, by notice in writing, require a patentee or a licensee, exclusive or otherwise, to furnish to him within two months from the date of such notice or within such further time as the Controller may allow, such information or such periodical statements as to the extent to which the patented invention has been commercially worked in India as may be specified in the notice.