Justice Manmohan Singh appointed as the Chairperson of the IPAB

Retired Delhi High Court judge, Justice Manmohan Singh has been appointed as the Chairperson of the INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY APPELLATE BOARD (IPAB) with effect from 1st of January 2018.


Rules for appointment of IPAB Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Technical Member

In exercise of the powers conferred by section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017 (7of 2017), the Central Government has notified the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience and other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules, 2017 on 1st June 2017.

These rules apply to 19 Appellate Tribunal as provided in the schedule of the Rules. Included in this list is also the intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB).

The rules provide as follows:-

(1) A person shall not be qualified for appointment as Chairman, unless he, –

(a) is, or has been, or is qualified to be, a Judge of High Court; or

(b) has, for a period of not less than three years, held office as Vice- Chairperson of the Appellate Board.

(2) A person shall not be qualified for appointment as Vice-Chairman, unless he,—

(a) is, or has been, or is qualified to be, a Judge of High Court; or

(b) has, for at least two years, held the office of Judicial Member or a Technical Member, and has a degree in law with at least 12 years of practice at bar or 12 years’ experience in a State Judicial Service.

(3) A person shall not be qualified for appointment as Technical Member (Patent), unless he, –

(a) has, for at least five years, held the post or exercised the functions of the Controller under the Patents Act, 1970 (39 of 1970); or

(b) has, for at least ten years, functioned as a registered patent agent and possesses a degree in engineering or technology or a master’s degree in science from any University established under law for the time being in force.

The Rules also provide that the search and selection committee for the post of the Chairman, Vice-Chairman of the Appellate Board, include –

(i) Chief Justice of India or his nominee- chairperson;

(ii) Secretary to the Government of India, (Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion) -member;

(iii) Secretary to the Government of India to be nominated by the Central Government-member;

(iv) two experts, to be nominated by the Central Government- members.


Also, the search-cum-Selection Committee for the post of Technical Member (Patent) of the Appellate Board, include—

(i) a person to be nominated by the Central Government –chairperson;

(ii) Secretary to the Government of India, (Department of Industrial Promotion and Policy) -member;

(iii) Secretary to the Government of India to be nominated by the Central Government – member;

 (iv) two experts, to be nominated by the Central Government – members.


In two landmark cases,the Intellectual Property Appellate Board treated orders issued under non-appealable provisions of section 11(B) (4) and 77(f) as appealable.

The first such order was issued under section 11(B) (4) treating an application for patent as ‘deemed withdrawn’ for failure to file the request for examination within the prescribed time period of 48 months from the date of priority of the application. The case of the petitioner was that the Indian Patent Office (IPO) made an incorrect entry in the cash receipt stating that the fee for examination was filed after the expiry of the prescribed period in spite of the timely filing of the same. The Petitioner brought the incorrect entry to the notice of the Patent Office. In what can be seen as a gross violation of the principles of natural justice, the Controller of Patents issued an order treating the application as withdrawn without issuing a hearing notice to the Applicant.

Statutorily, orders passed under section 11(B) (4) are not appealable but the attorneys of the Appellant argued that since the Applicant had timely filed the request for examination, said order should be taken as an order under section 15 of the Indian Patents Act which bestows upon the Applicant a right to appeal. The Appellate Board agreed with the submissions of the Appellant and allowed the appeal.

In the second case, an order issued in a pre-grant opposition, which was treated as a review petition under orders of the Delhi High Court to correct a procedural irregularity that had ensued due to a patent being granted without processing of a pre-grant opposition, was treated as patentable by the IPAB. The IPAB held that the order issued in the review petition under section 77(f), was in effect an order in a pre-grant opposition that was being treated as a review petition under directions of the High Court and since orders in pre-grant oppositions are appealable, the order in this case was also held appealable.

These orders have brought in their wake a stand to draw curative measures to address administrative errors.

Delhi Registry/Bench of IPAB inaugurated

Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) was set up in 2003 with its headquarters in Chennai. The IPAB at Chennai was the only Registry and filings of all Jurisdictions (Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai) were made in Chennai up till now. The IPAB did have its Bench sittings in Delhi, Mumbai, and Calcutta to hear matters of that jurisdiction occasionally.

Seeing the volume of IPAB cases rise in Delhi, Delhi registry-cum-bench of the IPAB was inaugurated on the 31st of August by the Chief Justice of  Delhi High Court, Justice G Rohini.  The event was attended by several eminent people.

As per the IPAB’s announcement, the Delhi Registry will become functional from 15th of September 2015. The Registry shall receive all applications/appeals, and other related petitions /affidavits of the cases relating to Delhi Jurisdiction  .The setting up of the Registry-bench is anticipate to be a significant step towards improving the efficiency and effectiveness with which IPR cases are dealt with in Delhi.