As mentioned in my previous articles, the life of a trademark is ten years in India post which the mark requires to be renewed every ten years to keep the mark alive. Of course, the Trademark law requires the Trademark Office to notify the proprietor before the expiry of registration. Now the question that arises is :
After a trademark application sails through the journey of examination, advertisement and opposition, it reaches the final and happy stage of registration. When the online status of a mark shows registered, it means, as the term suggests, the mark has obtained registration and the applicant becomes the legal owner/registrant of the said mark. A registration certificate mentioning the details of the trademark (including date of registration, registration number, Journal in which it was published) is also issued to the applicant. The details of the said trademark are entered in the Register of Trademarks maintained by the Trademark Office.
For those of you who use (and love, maybe?) the e-filing system (“system”) of the Trademarks Office, things just got lovelier. Until the evening of February 05, 2014, the Trademark Office’s system allowed trademark applications (under various forms) along with a couple of requests such as responding to the examination report issued by the Trademarks Office, filing a request for inclusion of excess characters in the specification of goods or services to be filed online.
The respondent, Malhotra Book Depot was a partnership firm which registered the mark MBD on November 23, 1970. The registration was subsequently renewed once in 1977. Over the years the partnership changed twice and when the most recent partners applied for a legal use certificate of the trademark registration (certified information of the mark from the Trademark Office). They were informed that there was no information of the trademark registration on the records of the trademark office (something that TM lawyers in India are quite used to hearing). Upon further investigation the Officials informed the Respondents that the mark had not been renewed and so it was removed from the records of the trademark office. The Responded then filed an application to restore the mark on 17 October 2010 which was not accepted on the ground that it was filed over one year after the expiry of the trademark.
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