Sunday, 11 March 2012

RTI and the Patent Office

The RTI has been a major weapon in the common man’s armory in his fight against the rampant corruption present in the government offices. It is no surprise that this post deals with the usage of RTI as a tool to tackle the ineffectiveness of the Indian Patent Office.
Bharat Kumar, the appellant, had filed an RTI application on 25.4.2011 seeking information on why the patent office has failed to provide necessary information that explains the delay in grant of his patent application 2254/Del/2005, titled “Titanic Audio”.  On receipt of the RTI application, the respondent, Ashok Kumar, CPIO informed that appellant that a request was made to B.P. Singh, group leader of electrical division to furnish the necessary information. 

To the dismay of the appellant, B.P. Singh replied that the appellant should seek the information from the section where the file is presently located. To make matters worse, B.P. Singh then went on leave without informing the CPIO. Consequently, the CPIO made a request to the appellant seeking additional time till June, 2011.  Upon the return of B.P Singh to the office, the RTI file was again sent on 3.6.2011 seeking the required information. However, B.P. Singh has not provided information to the appellant till date. (A delay of more than 100 days!)

A show cause notice is going to be issued in the matter and the Information Commissioner, Sushma Singh has ordered B.P. Singh and Ashok Kumar to present themselves for the hearing of the show cause notice. Further, an order has been issued directing that the required information to the appellant be provided within 10 days of the receipt of the order.
When I looked up the patent application 2254/Del/2005 on Indian Patent Office, the status of the application reads “Abandoned under Section 9(1)”. Further, I found a letter from the appellant dated 4.1.2008 requesting for information on the status of his patent application. The letter is available here

One thing that is clear from the above case is that, henceforth, the patent office ought to be more diligent in handling its daily matters so that such situations can be avoided in future. The common man is now more aware of his rights than ever before. The nexus between the RTI and the common man is becoming stronger and stronger.

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