Memoirs of the Indian Trademark Office
I still remember the first time I looked into the Indian Trademark Office website while interning, memorizing the domain name www.ipindia.nic.in, little knowing I would plunge into it and never forget it.
The journey of the Indian Trademark Office has been a long and progressive one. The introduction of the Trademark Rules, 2017 has stirred my memories…. a worthy trip down memory lane.
Technological Advancement at the Indian Trademark Office
How can one forget the declaration of the Indian Trademark Office to go digital and that it was a project with several phases? From handing out filing receipts with no online facility to print them out to getting them printed at our very own desk at leisure directly from the website, the technological transition has been immensely memorable (and relieving!)
There have been several such changes effected. Some of which are: –
- The facility to view all the documents pertaining to a particular application online.
- When the Indian Trademark Office did decide to go the paperless way, online filing of trademark applications became a boon to many, with no necessity to rush to the IP office to file, say a trademark application. This was a gradual process but yet we did see steady development with more and more applications being added to the online filing list
- Online searches for trademarks
- And what’s more, we have come to a stage where we now get E-Registration Certificates for the trademarks, which by no means, is a small feat!
The recent revamp of the Indian IP website is yet another proof of the devotion and focus of the CGDTPM to stay technologically and digital up-to-date, quite in line with the present Central Government’s vision of a Digital India.
The fee for filing a trademark application in one class as per the First Schedule of the New Trademark Rules 2017, is Rs 10,000. I honestly couldn’t help but recollect the changes which the trademark fee has undergone.
Not going way back, in the recent past, I still remember the time when I caught wind of the news of increase in fee (pursuant to amendment to Indian Trademark Rules, 2002), which was, from Rs 2500 to Rs 3500 for filing a trademark application in one class. There was, even then, the confusion about payment of difference in fee for applications filed after the date from which the fee hike became effective (owing to retrospective effect).
It was at that time that the Indian Trademark office was generous enough to offer trademark search free of cost (before which we had to perform trademark searches within a stipulated time for a charge. Nothing more stressful than the goal to finish all searches within the said time!) The next hike in fee from Rs 3500 to Rs 4000 came about in 2014 with yet another amendment to the Trademark Rules. And now we stand at Rs 10,000 (not being individual/startup/small enterprise) for physically filing a trademark application in one class.
START-UP FRIENDLY FEE
When I heard about the proposed increase in official fee in respect of trademarks, which was purported to be a 100% increase, it did make me feel uncomfortable lest trademark registration became inaccessible to aspiring individuals, starting small with dreams to make it big, in short start-ups. Paying Rs 10,000 for filing a trademark application, that too for one class is no easy task for a start-up. But the Trademark Rules 2017 has indeed allayed my fears with their reduced fee regimen for startups/individuals.
The present Central Government has always expressed its support to Startups and I feel, this reduced fee for Startups for filing trademark applications is one more way by which it has stood up to it.
CHANNELING THE INCOMING
With the huge hike in fee, there is no doubt that the revenue of the Indian Trademark Office is also set to rise. In this scenario, it is only normal for us to expect improvement in quality in all aspects. One particular department which the CGDTPM could focus on is ‘examination of trademark applications.’ In recent times, there have been quite an amount of trademark applications directly advertised in the Journal and some of these, do make us wonder at the quality of examination. Perhaps focusing on this avenue would even further improve the overall ‘trademarking experience’ for everyone!
AND THE JOURNEY CONTINUES
When the Indian Trademark Office declared that it was going the digital way aiming at transparency, I’m sure most were skeptical about it. I remember writing articles about the hiccups with the digitalization procedure as well. But for the Indian Trademark Office to have come all this way, from the physical filing of applications to e-filing and reduced fee for e-filing, showing the world that it is indeed focused on improving and re-inventing itself is a gargantuan and most important, laudable task indeed. KUDOS to the Indian Trademark Office. As for the journey, be it mine or the Indian Trademark Office’s….it continues…..