As part of INTA’s annual Delegation visit to India, 2015 INTA President J. Scott Evans (Adobe Systems Incorporated, USA) and INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo traveled to New Delhi in early February to meet with officials, engage with local media and participate in a one-day conference titled “India Emerged: Protecting Your Brand in India’s Emerging Economy.” The events were covered by the Indian press including The Economic Times
and The Hindu Business Line
Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC)
The Commissioner of Customs, Mr. Sandeep Kumar, thanked INTA for the Association’s efforts in raising awareness about Indian Customs’ online trademark recordal system among brand owner members. He noted that “there has been upward movement because of the advocacy by INTA.” When the Delegation met with the Commissioner last year, they had around 650 recordals. As of February 3, this number had increased to 920 recordals. He acknowledged that this was a “huge amount of progress in a year’s time” and encouraged INTA to continue these efforts. He also invited INTA to engage with Customs in a joint program on training customs officials.
Supreme Court of India and High Court of Delhi
Mr. Evans and Mr. Sanz de Acedo also had an opportunity to interact informally with Justice A.K. Sikri of the Supreme Court of India and Justice G.S. Sistani of the High Court of Delhi, with whom they discussed the high volume of cases filed at the Supreme Court and High Court levels, focusing on IP cases. One of the judges shared that 70 to 75 percent of IP cases are filed in Delhi courts, which amounts to 600 to 700 cases per year. INTA proposed conducting training courses for judges in India, an idea that was well received by the judges. INTA will shortly follow up on this initiative.
Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP)
The visiting Delegation then met with Secretary Amitabh Kant of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). This meeting raised the profile of the Delegation, since past delegations have met with officials at the level of Joint Secretary. The Delegation pushed for India to join the Singapore Treaty and also advocated for the deletion of Section 115 from the Trade Marks Act, 1999, which requires prior approval of the Registrar of Trade Marks before police can initiate investigations, search and seizure of counterfeits. Mr. Kant assured that he would look into the matter.
IP Attaché Breakfast
At a breakfast meeting for IP Attachés, INTA led a discussion on the IP landscape in India and attendees exchanged information on their key missions in India. There was participation from the USPTO, the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), the Australian High Commission and the Spanish Embassy.
Trade Mark Registry, Delhi
INTA’s Trademark Office Practices Committee—India IP Office Subcommittee put together a paper titled, “Suggestions on Filing and Examination Procedures at the Indian Trade Mark Registry,” which was submitted to the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks, Chaitanya Prasad, in early December. Subcommittee Chair, Mr. Ranjan Narula (RNA IP Attorneys, India) presented this paper to
Dr. B.C. Rathore, Deputy Registrar of Trade Marks, Delhi Trade Mark Registry, in the presence of the Delegation members.
IPR Think Tank
In early November 2014, the DIPP set up a think tank to advise the government on a gamut of issues related to patents and to also draft a national IPR policy. The think tank is a six-member panel comprising Prathiba Singh, Senior Advocate; Punita Bhargava, Advocate, Inventure IP; Unnat Pandit, Cadila Pharmaceuticals; Rajeev Srinivasan, Director, Asian School of Business; and Narendra Sabharwal, retired Deputy Director General, WIPO. The panel is headed by Justice Prabha Sridevan, a former judge at the Madras High Court and former Chairperson of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB).
The think tank issued the first draft of the National IPR Policy on December 19, 2014, and invited comments by January 30, 2015. INTA submitted comments on the draft and presented it to the members of the think tank during the Delegation visit. Among the recommendations made, INTA suggested that the Indian government conduct an in-depth study of the impact of IP on the economy, similar to studies conducted by the USPTO and the European Commission. INTA also advocated that India should join the Singapore Treaty. Finally, INTA offered to share the details of INTA’s UNREAL Campaign to serve as a model to promote awareness of counterfeiting in India.
INTA met with local non-IP associations such as the Centre for Internet and Society and the Indian Corporate Counsel Association to discuss areas of mutual interest and partnership.
Mr. Evans and Mr. Sanz de Acedo dined with several groups of members in India to discuss INTA’s initiatives in the country and get their feedback. These groups included the India Global Advisory Council, corporate members and non-members and the India Project Team, which organized the conference.
The Association sincerely appreciates the assistance of INTA members Hemant Singh (Inttl Advocare, India), Pravin Anand (Anand and Anand, India) and Ranjan Narula (RNA IP Attorneys, India) in organizing some of the meetings with government officials. Further, INTA would like to thank Board Member Shwetasree Majumder (Fidus Law Chambers, India) and corporate members Murli Balasubramaniam (Castrol India Limited, India) and Sarita Joglekar (Reliance Industries Limited, India) for their participation in these meetings.
If you represent an INTA trademark owner and would like to participate in future delegation visits, please contact INTA’s India Representative, Simran Daryanani Zainulbhai at firstname.lastname@example.org
Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.
© 2015 International Trademark Association