Crucially, the IPD is empowered to maintain a panel of experts whose inputs can be sought as per the IPD’s discretion. Expert inputs are only of persuasive value. In the same vein, in addition to usual law researchers, every IPD judge is empowered to additionally appoint two law researchers to provide techno-legal inputs. These law researchers may possess a degree in any technical field, specialization in any IPR subject matter or experience in the field of intellectual property. Hopefully, this framework will ensure that the IPD’s jurisprudence is not found wanting in terms of technical robustness.
Second, in an admirable bid to streamline the process of oral arguments, Rule 33 empowers the court to direct the filing of written submissions in advance or to fix specific time slots and designate restricted time limits for oral arguments. Given the existing consensus on the need to make the process of oral argumentation more streamlined and disciplined in India, these Rules could herald a welcome shift.
Third, very crucially, as Banana IP notes, the Rules are the first of their kind in India that account for the needs of disabled lawyers and litigants appearing before the court. Specifically, Rule 36 states that all filings before the IPD have to be in a Portable Document Format with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) enabled with image resolution of at least 300 dots per inch (dpi). This will make filings enormously more accessible to persons with disabilities.
Further, the IPD is empowered, suo motu, or on receiving an application from a party, to grant any reasonable accommodation to a person with a specified disability to participate in the proceedings before the IPD. One hopes that this thrust on accessibility and reasonable accommodation by the IPD will get replicated in the practice directions of courts across India.