A ray of hope for the abandoned trademark applications in India
If you have been following our blogs lately, you might remember the one dated April 1, 2016, reporting the rampant abandonment of marks by the Indian Trademarks Registry, and the events that followed on April 4, 2016 where the Trademark Office issued a public notice in order to bring order to the chaos. This is a continuation of the saga, with new developments coming up as days go by.
A ray of hope comes in the guise of another notification dated April 11, 2016 which was passed in compliance with the Order of the Delhi High Court with respect to the ongoing Writ Petition on this matter. The notification indicates that the abandonment orders for individual applications passed by the Registrar of Trade Marks after March 20, 2016 have been set aside. Which means that the aggrieved applicants or their agents can file a reply to the examination report through the comprehensive E-filing system, or through an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. With respect to the Applications for which the reply had already been filed and yet the office had by mistake abandoned the marks the relevant information along with the examination report are to be mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Notice concludes by stating that any further action in the subject matter would be taken in accordance with the directions/ orders of the Hon’ble Court, based on the ongoing Writ Petition.
This Notice does come as a relief to the proprietors and agents of the applications that have faced unfair abandonment. It seems like the Trademark Office is doing its best at damage control, though the notification has not specified the deadline for filing the responses. The notification of April 4, 2016, mentioned that applicants of the marks which were wrongfully abandoned had to provide the relevant information before April 30, 2016. What is unclear is the deadline that applies to the latest notification. Without specific details on the nature of documents to support the claim that the examination report was never received, it becomes more confusing for the applicants, though the absence of any mention does seem that the TMO would go easy on the Applicants whose marks have faced unfair abandonment.
So if your application has been wrongfully abandoned after March 20, 2016, it would be wise to comply with the latest process within the next week.
We can only hope that the Trademarks registry to pulls up their socks and works at finding a quick solution to the problem.