Trademark backlog to be finally reduced?

Recently, while giving a written reply to one of the matters in Lok Sabha, the Commerce and Industry Minister of the incumbent government, Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman, emphasized that the government has taken steps to reduce the increasing backlog of the Trademarks Registry of India. She stated this while addressing the concern mounting over the daunting backlog of the Trademarks Registry.

She also asserted that 21,706 applications have been abandoned or rejected during the period of 2015-16 due to the efforts of the government and pointed out that the government is proceeding in the right direction. In her reply, she suggested hiring more examiners in the Trademarks Registry to clear the huge pending backlog. She also mentioned about strengthening the online facility for filing of trademark applications.

This reply by the minister has come after the April 2016 order of the Trademarks registry which ordered the abandonment of more than 200,000 applications. However, it was later stayed by the Delhi High Court when it was challenged by the Intellectual Property fraternity. As a result of the order of the Delhi High Court, the applicants were asked to resubmit their responses to those abandoned applications.

It is pertinent to note that in the past many RTIs have disclosed the staggering figures of the long lasting backlog of the Trademarks Registry. However, the recent assurance of Ms. Sitharaman has to be seen as a progressive step towards improving the functioning of the Trademarks Registry.

It cannot be denied that the condition of the Trademarks Registry has certainly changed in the current years which was not so pleasant in the past. With the introduction of e-filing, the workload of the Registry has reduced significantly. The online portal is not just confined to filing but also for further amendments, checking of status of applications, filing examination report responses, and many more facilities associated with a particular trademark application.

In the past also,  the government had tried to ease the workload and pressure of the Registry by hiring new examiners which has led to the scenario that applications are normally examined in a duration of 12-15 months and registration certificate is issued generally within 24 months time.  Special drives were also conducted to clear off the backlog of the Registry. The announcement made by the Commerce and Industry Minister may bring about radical changes in the functioning of the Trademarks Registry.

Source : 1

Authored by Nikhil Kumar

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