What is a Power of Attorney? Why is a Power of Attorney required for filing a patent?

For patent application, the Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows anapplicant for a patent to grant an agent or another person the authority to act on the applicant’s behalf, e.g., to file and prosecute a patent application with the Patent Office.

Therefore, if an applicant for a patent wants a patent agent to handle the application and the formalities on theirbehalf, then the applicant is required to execute a POA to authorize the patent agent.

What are the duties of a patent agent authorized by the applicant through POA?

A patent agent acts on behalf of the applicant or the inventor i.e., acts as a coordinator between the applicant and the Patent Office. All the communication related to an application is communicated to the patent agent (on the recorded address for service) as if it is communicated to the applicant.

Role of a patent agent:

  • Help inventor(s) to convert their innovation into a patentable invention which can be filed as a patent application as per the Patents Act, 1970.
  • Help inventor(s) to define the scope of the claims of the invention.
  • Patent search, FTO/infringement analysis, patent drafting, prosecution in the Patent Office to grant of a patent, drafting and filing an opposition, revocation of a patent, maintenance of patents and IP enforcement.

What is the time frameto file the Power of Attorney?

As per rule 135 (1) of the Patents Act, authorisation of an agent shall be filed in Form 26 or the form of POA within three months from the date of filing of the patent application, failing which no action shall be taken on such application for further processing till such deficiency is removed.

Generally, the POA shall be filed with appropriate stamp duty as per the Stamp Act.

How to revoke the Power of Attorney?

POA is valid until it is revoked. Therefore, if an applicant wishes to revoke the POA given to an agent, then it can be done by destruction of the POA document, or by a notice of revocation to the recipient of the POA.

What are the types of POA?

An applicant may provide the POA to the agent most suitable for their purpose. POAs that may be used during patent filing and prosecuting are:

  • General Power of Attorney
  • Specific Power of Attorney
  • Substitute Power of Attorney

What is a General Power of Attorney?

If the applicant wishes the agent to handle all their matters filed with the patent office and doesn’t wish to execute a POA every time for a new matter, then they may issue a General Power of Attorney (GPoA) in the name of the agent.

In case a GPoA has already been filed in another application, a self-attested copy of the same shall be filed by the authorized Patent Agent in the current patent application.In addition, fresh stamp duty is also required to be filed with application details of thecurrent patentapplication.

What is a Specific/ Special Power of Attorney?

If the applicant wishes the agent to handle specific act(s), then they may issue a Specific/ SpecialPower of Attorney. For example, a Specific/ Special Power of Attorney may be assigned to an agent to file a renewal fee of a patent only.

What is a Substitute Power of Attorney?

In a Substitute Power of Attorney,the person (authorized agent) who is given the Power of Attorney is delegating that power by putting another person in their place. The substitute power of attorney is used during the prosecution of a patent application when the authorised agent of the POA is unable to act on behalf of the applicant at any stage. The substitution may be for full power in the application or for a particular/specific power in the application.

The format of Form 26 to be used for filing in a patent application can be obtained from the link below:


The Importance of Power of Attorney for Patent Applicants

Author – Sanjeeta Das