Draft Patent Amendment Rules 2013 propose to increase the current Official fee of various Patent services by 100%. No plausible reason has been provided for such steep increase in official fee when the Indian Patent offices are lagging in delivery of services. It takes 4-5 years for a Patent to be examined in India and by each passing year the pendency is increasing. This move apparently appears to discourage the Applicants from filing and/or maintaining patents in India and gradually reduce the pendency.
The above draft amendment in Rules does not take into consideration the additional Govt. fee suggested under earlier draft Patent Amendment Rules 2010 where for some of the services (for which no fee is due as of now) e.g. filing of sequence listing of nucleotides and/ or amino acids. The fifth schedule that was proposed to be added under earlier draft Patent Amendment Rules 2010, there is no indication of fee for same here. As there would be contradiction in fee applicable, it appears that the said draft amendments of 2010 have lost significance and proposed amendments under those draft rules 2010 would be brought afresh, especially concerning the official fee. Similarly in view of these draft amendments some of the provisions of draft Patent amendments Rules 2011 would be redundant and proposed amendments under those draft rules 2011 would be brought afresh especially concerning the formatting part of documents.
The draft rules propose to add 10% surcharge for filing forms/ documents under physical mode. This is adding salt to injury. The e-filing platform is redundant as it supports only two banks namely SBI and Axis bank, therefore it cast a negative obligations for Applicant or its Agents/ Attorneys to have an account with said banks and only if they are capable of using the internet banking facility of those banks, they can file the Application or forms, where fee is payable. No. of banks have not been increased since last many years and this surcharge is nothing but to give monopolistic advantage to those two banks and Patent office. Even the income tax department has come to accept payment by no. of banks. In this age of plastic money there is no provision as to make payment by credit or debit cards.
USPTO is far more ahead when it comes of supporting e-filing system. They don’t require digital signature for filing documents, all they require is clean scanned copy of duly signed document. They accept payment by credit cards as well as Attorneys hold account with USPTO and all they have to do is provide a confirmation in writing (by electronic mode) to charge their account for due amount.
Levying such surcharge when the system supports bank accounts of only two banks is restrictive and arbitrary. The patent office should allow payment of fee through all banks that have been allowed license by the RBI and should not pick and choose and discriminate against any bank and their customers.