Reported By: Samreen Iboo Sait
The Office of Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trademarks (CGPDTM) has issued guidelines for ‘Accessibility and Reasonable Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities’. The Office has stated that it has initiated steps to make its website(s), facilities, systems and processes more accessible, in line with The Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act, 2016. A nodal officer has also been appointed to address the needs of attorneys, agents and others with disabilities.
You can read the guidelines here.
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We observe all applicable Bar Council rules and norms in conflict of interest matters. Between practice areas, we do not perceive automatic or deemed conflict of interest. We do not perceive automatic or deemed conflict of interest with closed files unless there is a subject matter overlap. We check for the conflict of interest specifically on a file as against our other existing and live files, and not on a client as against existing client basis, viz. the conflict of interest is strictly on the subject matter against subject matter basis. In case of potential or possibility of being conflicted in the future, however, we seek and take consent from the existing client if we want to take up a file. Our conflict of interest norms are stricter than the minimum standards of the Bar.
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We retain hard copies of materials of a file for a period of 3 months after a file is closed and after that it is destroyed. File intimation is always specifically communicated to the client. We retain any soft copies of materials in a file for a period of 6 months after a file is closed and after that it is deleted. If hard copies are sought to be returned on closure of file, it should be specifically asked for.
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ALG attorneys practice only in teams viz. accept appointment as advocates-cum-agents on any file/mandate only jointly in practice-groups of at least two ALG attorneys. At ALG, Advocates and IP Agents also participate and share in and contribute towards discharging certain ancillary and support functions in addition to their primary professional responsibilities as lawyers and IP Agents, and this also they do as part of teams and not as individuals. Management functions such as client-relations generally, as well as on any specific file, previous client relations, potential client relations, billing, expenditure, accounts, infrastructure and office management etc. are all thus discharged by such teams. ALG attorneys are not permitted to engage in any sole or individual practice, not even in an outside-ALG or private capacity.
There is functional specialization in ALG in addition to specializations in Areas of Focus and Areas of Practice. In her/his professional work as an Advocates and/or an IP Agent, each individual at ALG specializes, as part of a team, in certain allocated core functions on any client file and discharges only that core function on any client file, instead of handling a client file in all respects or/and from file opening to file closing.
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ALG does not adopt, have or implement any differential billing rate, treatment or fee schedule for and amongst its clients, whether domestic or foreign, or between any such or other categories, either on a on a case by case basis or on any such categorization basis. ALG does, however, provide differently customized client-tailored suite of its IP legal representational services for each of its clients resulting in naturally different costs to different clients for what might otherwise superficially appear similar engagements but would be only apparently similar engagements. ALG works closely with each of its clients to understand that client’s needs and requirements to adapt its billing structure, format and arrangement itself for a more conducive mutual fit. ALG does provide special discounts to its clients but this is on the basis of long-standing relationships reflecting sustained and deep engagement and commitment. It provides these automatically and only in accordance with its internal policies, not on request, demand, discretion or ad-hocism. ALG also provides but only in accordance with its internal policy in force at any given time, what are in the nature of bulk discounts for several simultaneous similar or related instructions or engagements. Actually, these reflect value based reductions given the nature of the instructions and engagements as a package. ALG’s billing arrangements for any engagement are predicted on an attorney-client relationship. ALG is a lawfirm and it provides only legal IP representational services; it does not provide non-legal IP business services or non-legal IP liaison services. ALG’s billing is for this reason incapable of being disaggregated in any part into either of these two types of services that ALG does not provide. ALG does not have any generally applicable fee schedules for any generic or pre-defined activities, services, tasks or engagements because ALG does not provide such modular or otherwise template based services.
We at ALG take seriously our commitment to serving and uplifting our communities. To these ends, we strive to fulfil our professional and ethical responsibilities by providing free legal services appropriately to indigent or otherwise needy individuals and organisations; briefs and cases.
The firm expects each ALG lawyer, regardless of designation, to devote a portion of her/his time and energies to providing pro bono legal services (for free or at reduced charge). The firm strongly encourages all ALG lawyers to seek and maintain active empanelment with local and regional Legal Aid Committees, to seek and take up legal cases and matters both in court and outside court, at appropriately discounted if not altogether waived professional fees. All ALG lawyers are strongly encouraged to discharge their duty to the bar, profession and society by doing so and they are not restricted to only intellectual property law cases and matters in this regard.
Each ALG lawyer’s record of pro bono legal work is considered an important factor in that lawyer’s evaluation and taken into consideration for advancement decisions at the firm.
ALG provides the same quality of professional representation and legal service, regardless of an accepted client’s ability to pay. Pro bono matters of ALG lawyers are treated as that of the firm and no differently than regular billable matters, being accorded the same attention, dedication and resources.