Delhi High Court has issued notice to ASG Maninder Acharya to take instructions from the central government in order to furnish information about the functioning and other important issues pertaining to Intellectual Property Appellate Board.
The current matter arose from a petition filed by Novartis AG under Article 227 of the Constitution. It was moved because the appeal filed against the granting of patent to the Petitioner for the drug 'Ceritinib' has not been heard so far due to the non functioning of IPAB.
The Petitioner had submitted that the functioning of the IPAB has come to a complete standstill, owing to the fact that the Chairman has demitted office and only one technical member is available.
As per section 84 of the Trade Marks Act, the IPAB Beech for any particular matter needs to have one judicial and one technical member.
The court noted that as of today, there are no judicial members functioning in the IPAB.There is also only one technical member.
Justice Pratibha Singh went on to highlight that the 15 years long history of IPAB has shown that at every stage there has been a delay in the appointments, both judicial and technical members. Further, adequate infrastructure and autonomy is also not granted to the IPAB in order to make its functioning efficient and smooth.
It was also opined by the court that the functioning of the IPAB has not lived up to its statement of objectives which envisaged speedy disposal of appeals and rectification applications.
While noting that the functioning of IPAB has not been streamlined since it's notification in 2003, the court highlighted the need to take urgent measures. Therefore, it issued a notice to the ASG to take instructions on the following:
a. Total number of cases pending before the IPAB;
b. Conditions of appointment and Status of appointment of Chairperson of IPAB;
c. Status of appointment of technical members of IPAB;
d. Financial autonomy given to IPAB;
e. Recruitment of staff of IPAB and processes thereof
The matter is now listed for October 24. Counsel for the Union of India has been directed to inform the Secretary of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) about the said notice.