Trademark opposition timelines are mandatory, and must be complied strictly, says the Delhi High Court

In a case involving a trademark opposition filed by Sun Pharma against an application filed by Dabur India, the Registrar of Trademarks deemed the opposition as abandoned as the service of evidence by the opponent was delayed by a few days. Sun Pharma had filed the evidence before the Registrar within the timeline, but there was a delay of 3 days in service to the trademark applicant. Reversing the decision of the Registrar of Trademarks, the Court reinstated the opposition as the filing before the Registrar was done in a timely manner, and as there was merely a delay in service to the applicant. The Court ordered the Registrar to decide the opposition and pass an order on merits.

While arriving at its decision, the Court reviewed whether the opposition-related timelines under the Trademarks Act and Rules are mandatory or directory. Based on the statutory language and legislative background, the Court stated that the opposition timelines are mandatory. It also opined that the Registrar does not have the discretion to extend timelines.

Citation: Sun Pharma Laboratories Ltd. vs Dabur India Ltd. & Anr., High Court of Delhi, 08th December, 2023, C.A.(COMM.IPD-TM) 146/2022


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