National IPR Policy: Trademark Related Objectives

India approved its first ever Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) policy on 13th May 2016 with a vision to stimulate creativity and innovation and to promote advancement in science and technology, art and culture, traditional knowledge and biodiversity resources.

The policy lays out seven broad objectives and they are as follows:

  • Awareness: outreach and promotion;
  • Generation of IPRs;
  • Legal and legislative framework;
  • Administration and management;
  • Commercialization of IPR;
  • Enforcement and adjudication; and
  • Human capital development.

This article considers various provisions relating to Trade marks under the new IPR Policy. India is among the top five trade mark filers in the world, with the whopping majority of applications being filed by Indians.

The following positive considerations are provided with respect to trademarks in the new IPR Policy:

  • Office of the Controller General of Patents Designs and Trademarks, that has gone through various upgrades in the recent past, under the new Policy will see more of such advancements through following measures:
    • Fixing and adhering to timelines for grant of registrations and disposal of opposition matters;
    • Adopting  best practices with respect to filing and docketing of documents,maintenance of records and digitizing the same including document workflow and tracking systems;
    • Creating  a service-oriented culture to make the IP office user friendly;
    • Ensuring that public records in the IP office are easily available and accessible both online and offline;
    • Conducting periodic audits of processes being adopted in IP administration for efficient grant and management of IP rights;
    • Providing continuous training to staff of the IP Office to update them regarding developments in procedures (especially search and examination),substantive laws and technologies, with the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Intellectual Property Management, Nagpur (RGNIIPM);
    • Removing disparities, if any, among different branches of the trademark registries and adopting  standardized procedures in examination/grant of applications including maintenance of rights;
    • Examining joining Centralized Access for Search and Examination (CASE) and WIPO Digital Access Services (DAS);
    • Conducting trademark agent examinations at regular intervals, arranging training programs and involving them in capacity building activities.
  • The Policy has under its objective, to transform knowledge into IP assets and it specifically seeks to encourage enterprises to create brand equity from their IP rights, such as trademarks.
  • The IP Policy  also focuses on protection of right holders’ rights. It lays emphasis on the need for capacity building of the enforcement agencies at various levels, including strengthening of IPR cells in State police forces. The Policy also lays down measures to check counterfeiting of trademark goods, in furtherance of which it provides for organizing regular IPR workshops / colloquia at judicial academies and other forums for judges which would facilitate effective adjudication of IPR disputes.

These are the few specific trade mark related provisions excluding the other common policies and strategies provided in the new IPR Policy for the development and advancement of the IP system in India.

Authored by Bhuvana S. Babu