The DIPP recently replied to my RTI application asking for information pertaining to the appointment of Mr. D.P.S. Parmar as the Technical Member (Patents) IPAB. The Technical Member is supposed to sit along with a Judicial Member to adjudicate patent revocations and also appeals against the Controller. The previous person to hold this post was Mr. Chandrashekaran, who was earlier the Controller General of Patents.
We can now confirm the following 8 persons applied for the post:
(i) Mr. D.P.S. Parmar (Application available over here);
(ii) Dr. K.S. Kardam (Application available over here);
(iii) Mr. Rengaswamy (Application available over here);
(iv) Ms. Punithavathi (Application available over here);
(v) Mr. B.P.Singh (Application available over here);
(vi) Mr. R. Srinivas (Application available over here);
(vii) Mr. S.P.Arora (Application available over here);
(viii) Mr. P.C. Chakraborti (Application available over here);
Of the above 8 applications, Mr. Arora was the only practitioner applying for the post. The remaining 7 were controllers at the patent office. Mr. P.C. Chakraborti, who was appointed as the ad-hoc technical member to the IPAB to hear the Novartis case, had already retired as a Controller.
Of the 7 Controllers, the age factor seems to have played a major role in the selection process because the retirement age for Technical Members (Patents) is 62 years and the Cabinet Committee on Appointments is quite particular on appointing only those persons who can serve the entire term of 5 years.
The age of the applicants was as follows: (i) Mr. Parmar - 56 years, (ii) Dr. K.S.Kardam – 52 years (iii) Mr. Rengaswamy - 59 years, (iv) Ms. Punithavathi – 54 years (v) Mr. R. Srinivas – 46 years (vi) Mr. B.P. Singh – 52 years (vii) Mr. S.P. Arora – 60 years (viii) Mr. P.C. Chakraborti – 62 years.
Of these eight applicants – Mr. Chakraborti was automatically disqualified because he was already 62 years of age. Similarly Mr. S.P. Arora would also have been disqualified because he was 60 years of age and would have had only 2 years of service left if he was appointed. Of the remaining six applicants, Mr. Parmar was the senior-most Controller with exactly 5 years of service left and would therefore be a natural choice for appointment of the IPAB. After all the Selection Committee, the minutes of which are available over here, which appointed Mr. Parmar consisted of 2 bureaucrats + Acting Chairperson of IPAB + D-G (CSIR) and the normally tendency at least amongst the bureaucrats would have been to appoint the senior-most controller, as this is the least controversial route. This is not to say that Mr. Parmar is not otherwise qualified for the post but it does explain one of the important reasons for his appointment. It is difficult to make any objective determination of Mr. Parmar's appointment because of the very faulty nature of the job application designed by the DIPP for the post.
The Department appears to have used the same application as used for the post of Technical Member (Trademarks). (See Items 11 & 12 of this application) Ideally any such applications for the Technical Member (Patents) should concentrate on the experience of the Controller in rendering decisions in opposition proceedings, granting/rejecting patents. For some reason the application does not specifically ask for any such information. As a result there is a huge difference in the kind of information submitted by each applicant. Hopefully the DIPP will be more careful the next time around.