From past few days, I was researching on this topic. I think Many Advocates who have degree in Science, Engineering or Technology are curious about that whether they are eligible to become Patent Agent in India without clearing the Patent Agent Examination conducted by Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trademarks (India) and If the answer is "Yes" then What is the procedure to register and get Patent Agent Number.
In this informative post, I will answer your question one by one and in very easy language. First, you need to know How many times Patent Act 1970 has been amended and What are its impacts. Patent Act has been amended in the mentioned below years-->
1. The Patents (Amendment) Act - 26 March 1999
2.The Patents (Amendment) Act - 25 June 2002
3.The Patents (Amendment) Act 2005
4. The Patents Act 1970 (incorporating all amendments till 11-03-2015)
5.The Patents Act, 1970 ( incorporating all amendments till 23-06-2017)
Section 126 of Patent Act 1970 tells about Qualification for registration as patent agents. According to Patent Act 1970.
Qualifications for registration as patent agents are:
(1) A person shall be qualified to have his name entered in the register of patent agents if he fulfills the
following conditions, namely: -
a. he is a citizen of India;
b. he has completed the age of 21 years;
c.he has obtained a degree from any University in the territory of India or possesses such other
equivalent qualifications as the Central Government may specify in this behalf, and, in addition,-
(i) is an advocate within the meaning of the Advocates Act, 1961; or
(ii) has passed the qualifying examination prescribed for the purpose;
(d) he has paid such fee as may be prescribed.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), a person who has been practicing as a patent
agent before the 1st day of November 1966 and has filed not less than five complete specifications before
the said day, shall, on payment of prescribed fee, be qualified to have his name entered in the register of
In 2002 amendment, section 126(1)(c)(i) "degree of any university" has been changed to "degree in science, engineering or technology". It gives a little impact on Advocates but the main problem arises in The Patent (Amendment) Act 2005.
According to Section 67 (a) of Patent (Amendment) Act 2005., Section 126(1)(c)(i) has been deleted from patent act 1970. It means right of advocates to register as patent agents directly without the need to take any qualifying examination has been deleted. Now only those candidates who have a degree in science, engineering or technology and have passed the qualification exam prescribed for the purpose are only eligible to become a patent agent in India.
It was an injustice to all the Advocates who have a degree in science, engineering, and technology and wants to register as Patent Agent in India. Therefore, An Advocate named Mr. S.P. Chockalingam filed a writ petition before Madras High Court to null(void) the Section 67(a) of Patent Amendment Act, 2005.
Thereafter In March 15, 2013 Madras High Court declared the amendments introduced to Section 126 of the Patents Act 1970, by Section 67 (a) of the Patents (Amendment) Act, 2005 (Act 15 of 2005) as illegal, unconstitutional, ultra vires, void and unenforceable. Thereby restoring the status quo on the patent agent qualification under the Indian Patent Act, 1970 as was in existence before the Patents (Amendment) Act of 2005.
After this judgement, It is clear that Advocates having a degree in Science, Engineering or Technology are Registered Patent Agent in India without giving Indian Patent Agent Examination.
Now, A Question will arise in your mind. What about Patent Agent Number and How will I get registered in ipindia.nic.in. An RTI has been filed by Mr. S. Venkatesh, In reply, IPO said that the decision is pending, nothing can yet be operationalized. !!!
It is still a mystery. Only God knows when will IPO allows Advocates into their register and allocate a number.
1. Controller General of Patent, Designs and Trademarks.