There is no doubt that there is a backlog of cases at various IP offices in India. Recently some initiatives have been taken to make India’s IP dispute resolution system speedier and more efficient. The initiatives come from two fronts-Commercial Courts and Mediation.
The Civil Procedure Code (Amendment) Act, 1999 introduced Section 89, which speaks about arbitration, conciliation and mediation as alternative dispute settlement mechanisms. The Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 (modeled on the lines of the UNCITRAL Model Law) reiterates that the alternative dispute mechanism available should be cost effective & efficient to be chosen by parties to settle disputes. Thus, the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDT) issued a public notice on 19th of February 2016, that the Trademark Registry, Delhi in collaboration with Delhi State Legal Service Authority (DSLSA) will dispose the long pending trademark opposition/rectification matters. The Registry has decided to take up 500 cases initially. The listed and interested parties can enroll themselves by signing a consent form within 30 days from the date of notice.
Recently on 15th February 2016, a Single Judge of the Delhi HC in Guinness World Record and Ors v. Sababbi and Ors case, passed the judgment that “IPR matters covered under the Trade Marks Act, 1999, Copyright Act, 1957, Designs Act, 2000, Patents Act, 1970 and Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration And Protection) Act, 1999, that were pending as on the date of passing of the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act, 2015 Act will be heard and disposed of by the Commercial Division of the High Court, even if their valuation is below Rs.1 crore”. Section 7 of the Act states that, “All suits and applications relating to commercial disputes of a Specified Value filed in a High Court having ordinary original civil jurisdiction shall be heard and disposed of by the Commercial Division of that High Court…
….Provided that all suits and application relating to commercial disputes, stipulated by an Act to lie in a court not inferior to a District Court, and filed or pending on the original side of the High Court, shall be heard and disposed of by the Commercial Division of the High Court”.
We sincerely hope that the experiment/ initiative carried out will actually help in disposing off the long pending backlog.
Authored by Sambhabi Patnaik.