President promulgates Tribunals reforms Ordinance, IPAB goes defunct with immediate effect

The President of India on the 4th of April 2021 promulgated the “THE TRIBUNALS REFORMS (RATIONALISATION AND CONDITIONS OF SERVICE) ORDINANCE, 2021”. With the passing of this ordinance, Tribunals set up under the Cinematograph Act, 1952, the Customs Act, 1962, the Airports Authority of India Act, 1994, the Trade Marks Act, 1999 and the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001 and certain other Acts have now effectively been rendered defunct with immediate effect. The ordinance has also transferred the functions and powers of the tribunals to the High Courts and Commercial Courts depending on the context. For example, in the context of Intellectual Property, the powers and duties of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board will now vest with the High Court for Patents, Trademarks, Geographical Indications and Plant Varieties. Similarly, in the case of Copyrights, these powers and duties have been transferred to the Commercial Courts.

While a detailed post on the changes brought about by the Ordinance will be published shortly, a brief of these changes are provided below.

Under the Copyright Act, sections 2, 6, 19A, 23, 31, 31A, 31B, 31C, 31D, 32, 32A, 33A, 50, 53 A, 54, 72, 74, 75 and 78 have been amended to substitute the words “Appellate Board” with the word “High Court” wherever they occur in the sections. Section 72 has been entirely substituted while, sections 11 and 12 shall be omitted entirely.

Under the Patents Act, in sections 2, 52, 58, 59, 64, 71, 76, 113, 117A, 117E, 151 wherever the words Appellate Board appear shall be replaced with the word ‘High Court’. While, sections 116, 117, 117F, 117G and 117H shall be completely omitted.

Under the Trade Marks Act, in sections 2, 10, 26, 55, 57, 71, 94, 97, 98, 113, 123, 124, 125, 130, 141, 144, 157, wherever the words “Tribunal” or “Appellate Board” appear, will be replaced with the words “Registrar or the High Court” as the context may require. Sections  83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 89A, 90, 92, 93, 95, 96, 99 and 100 shall be omitted fully.

Under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, in sections 2, 19, 23, 27, 31, 32, 33, 48, 57, 58, 63, 72, 75 and 87, the words “Tribunal” or “Appellate Board” wherever they appears will be substituted with the words “Registrar or High Court” as the context may require. Section 32, 33 and 36 however will be omitted entirely.

Under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, in sections 2, 44, 56, 57 and 89, the word “Tribunal” will be omitted and replaced with the word “High Court” wherever the context so requires. Sections 56, 58 and 59 will however be omitted entirely.

To view a copy of the ordinance, click here.

Authored by Gaurav Mishra

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