On January 13, 2011, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) announced changes in trademark practice in India. The changes have been implemented with retrospective effect from December 29, 2010.
The major change has been an introduction of a free public database for trademark searches in India. Any person can now conduct an online search
for Indian Trade Marks. It is noteworthy that the same database was earlier available at a fee of US $10 per 15 minutes.
Accordingly, the IPO has discontinued the provision of official searches, which were earlier being issued by examiners. Users around the globe are still assessing the available search tools and the quality of results produced by the new database, and there is some concern, particularly about results in device mark searches.
The IPO has also increased the application fee by about US $25 per class, with effect from December 29, 2010. All applicants who filed applications between December 29, 2010 (date of implementation), and January 13, 2011 (date of notification), have been given time to pay the deficit fee by March 31, 2011, failing which applications are to be postdated to the date of payment of such deficit fee.
All applicants have been asked to file responses to examination reports electronically. It has intimated that there is a huge backlog for digitization and uploading of physically filed replies, and electronic filing will help ensure speedy consideration of responses.
It is noteworthy that all of above steps are aimed at reducing the workload of the IPO. The IPO has made significant strides with the issuance of thousands of pending registration certificates since implementation of these changes. Its efforts to reduce the registration time frame while making systems user-friendly are greatly welcome.
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.
© 2011 International Trademark Association