The present matter is an appeal preferred by the Appellant (interchangeably also referred to as the Applicant), Dolby International AB aginst the impugned order dated 29 January 2021, passed by the Assistant Controller of Patents & Designs by virtue of which the Ld. Assistant Controller of Patents & Designs refused to grant a patent to the Appellant under Section 15 of the Patents Act, 1970. The Appellant had filed an application for the patent bearing number 6570/DELNP/2009 on 14 October 2009. A request for examination of this application was filed by the Appellant on 17 March 2011. Thereafter, the examination of the application was conducted as per Section 12 and Section 13 of the Patents Act, 1970 by the Examiner. Subsequently, the First Examination Report was issued, to which the agent of the Applicant submitted a reply. Following this, the Examiner prepared a report on the reply put forward by the agent of the Applicant. It was observed that the Patent Application no. 6570/DELNP/2009 was not fit for grant. In this regard a hearing was scheduled on 22 October 2020 wherein the said impugned order in challenge was passed.


At a bare perusal of the impugned order, it is prima facie clear that it is nothing but a cut-and-paste order. No reference has been made to the claim. In addition to that, there is ambiguity with respect to what part refers to the First Examination Report. Furthermore, it cannot be made out where the reasoning is given by the Assistant Controller of Patents & Designs for refusing to grant the patent. It was submitted by the counsel for the Appellant that there was only a single sentence in the entire impugned order which provided some kind of reasoning.

It is evident that the Assistant Controller of Patents & Designs who was adjudicating the claim was not acquainted with the claim made by the Applicant and the objections as contained in the notice of hearing and in the First Examination Report because the said objections have been cut and pasted incoherently and arbitrarily in the impugned order. In fact, incomplete documents have randomly been cut and pasted together. One incomplete diagram is also reproduced in the impugned order for no reason at all. Furthermore, the Assistant Controller of Patents & Designs has erred in stating that the substantive requirement under section 2 (1) (j) of the Patents Act, 1970 has not been complied with when in actuality the objections were regarding section 2 (1) (ja).

The Hon'ble High Court of Delhi was appalled by the manner in which the impugned order was passed by the Assistant Controller of Patents & Designs. Due to the arbitrariness of the said impugned order, the Hon'ble High Court could not examine the case on merits. The Hon'ble High Court opined that the life of a patent is calculated from the date of filing of the Patent Applicant and not the date of grant of the patent. In this regard, the Hon'ble High Court further went on to explain that the unreasonable delay in the grant of patents leads to a depreciation in the residual life of a patent which in turn can lead to inventors becoming unwilling to produce new inventions and innovations.

A patent is intended to recognise the inventive step that has been taken in the creation of an invention. Inventions enhance the present understanding of science and, as a result, are of immeasurable public interest. Any decision to issue or reject a patent must therefore be influenced by careful consideration, which must be reflected in the decision. Orders denying patent applications cannot be issued mechanically.


The Hon'ble High Court of Delhi allowed the present appeal and quashed and set aside the impugned order passed by the Assistant Controller of Patents & Designs. Furthermore, the Hon'ble High Court remanded the matter to the Controller of Patents & Designs for deciding the matter afresh without any influence of the impugned order and assured that the officer who had passed the impugned order shall not decide the matter. Moreover, a hearing was granted to the appellant.

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