INTA’s 2018 India Delegation: Applauding the Rise of ‘Brand India’

Published: April 15, 2018

India is currently the world’s fastest growing large economy after China and is projected to be the world’s second largest by 2050. To assist India’s ascent to becoming a global superpower, the Indian government put in place the country’s first ever National IPR Policy (the Policy) in 2016. The Policy provides a clear roadmap on intellectual property (IP) rights issues and aims to stimulate innovation and creativity across all sectors of the country.

Now in its third year, the Policy is undoubtedly proving to be a harbinger of positive, real, and holistic change in the IP rights regime in India. While INTA already actively collaborates with the government in its efforts to strengthen the IP landscape at both the public and policy levels, the Association is committed to providing support to any new initiatives that are undertaken to meet the Policy’s objectives.

In that context, INTA’s annual India delegation visit is a significant event on the Association’s calendar. INTA looks forward each year to the opportunity to strengthen its existing robust partnerships with Indian officials and relevant IP constituents to identify new and effective ways to work together to advance trademark and related rights in India.

This year’s event marked INTA’s eighth annual delegation to India and took place March 14‒16 in New Delhi and Mumbai. The delegation was led by INTA’s 2018 President, Tish Berard (Hearts On Fire Company, LLC, USA), and INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo. They were joined by both corporate and associate members from India and other jurisdictions in a series of successful meetings with government officials, including India’s Trade Marks Office, judges, Indian customs officials, officials from the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), as well as IP attachés and representatives of relevant industry and IP associations.

During all meetings, INTA’s 2018-2021 Strategic Plan was introduced and was unanimously admired.

On March 14, INTA hosted a half-day workshop titled “A ‘Brand’ New Day-Preparing for the Present and Future of Trademarks” in New Delhi that was attended by 130 registrants consisting of both corporate and associate representatives. During her remarks introducing the workshop, Ms. Berard described the rise of “Brand India,” explaining that India’s 50 top brands grew 21 percent in value in 2017 to an unprecedented USD 109.4 billion. This includes growth in local brands, 38 of which are now part of India’s top 50, compared with 35 in 2014.

On March 16, INTA and K&S Partners hosted a roundtable in Mumbai titled “Trademark Enforcement in India-Challenges & Opportunities,” which concluded the delegation and boasted eminent speakers from the bench, bar, industry, and enforcement agencies.

The delegation also interacted with INTA’s India members, industry representatives, and other dignitaries at the various receptions and galas that were organized during the three action-packed days.

Meeting with the DIPP

In New Delhi, the INTA delegation met Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary, DIPP, Ministry of Commerce and Industry; Rajiv Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, DIPP; and the entire team of the Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM). Mr. Sanz de Acedo and Ms. Berard congratulated the officials on the very strong and palpable improvement in India’s IP landscape over the past few years-particularly the past 12 months. Mr. Sanz de Acedo expressed deep appreciation for DIPP’s efforts to steer the country’s IP administration in the right direction and for allowing INTA to provide input from time to time.

The delegation and the officials engaged in relevant discussions on topics that included brand valuation, counterfeiting and piracy, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)/startups and their relationship with IP. On behalf of the specialized task force under the aegis of INTA’s Enforcement Committee-Trademark Enforcement Policy Advocacy Subcommittee, the delegation also submitted for DIPP’s consideration a paper containing INTA’s recommendation and support for an amendment to Section 134 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 so as to strengthen brand owners’ access to effective judicial enforcement and discourage infringement and counterfeiting.

You can read more about the Indian government’s initiatives on its IP rights regime here.

Meeting with the Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trade Marks

In Mumbai, the delegation had a successful meeting with O.P. Gupta, Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trade Marks (CG), and his colleagues from the Trade Marks Registry. The meeting was energetic and positive as the delegation thanked the CG for all the improvements that have been witnessed at the Registry under his leadership, in terms of initiatives for clearing backlogs and reduction in pendency, consolidating official forms from 74 to just eight, digitization, developing e-filing and automated processes, and IP protection schemes for startups.

The CG was highly appreciative of INTA’s endeavors on the Trade Marks Manual Project and also encouraged the Association to submit any comments and recommendations related to IP challenges faced by Indian brand owners in neighboring countries, which could then potentially be taken up formally with the other South Asian IP offices and commerce ministries.

Meeting with the Customs Commissioner and the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs

As in past years, the delegation had a warm and engaging interaction with Sandeep Kumar, Commissioner of Customs and Export Promotions.

The discussion was multifaceted and touched on topics including: the introduction of the new customs e-recordation tool that can be used by rights holders; the significance of small seizures of counterfeit goods; and the need to share relevant official data related to seizures in India.

Other Notable Meetings and Receptions

The delegation had the distinct honor of attending a splendid reception hosted by the Honorable Justice Prathiba M. Singh of the Delhi High Court. The delegation also met members of India’s Global Advisory Council over lunch to discuss various policy issues, priorities, and membership initiatives by INTA in India.

The delegation also met the IP attachés of the European Union, France, Germany, Japan, the United States, and UK to discuss their missions in the country for 2018, as well as any key issues for brand owners.

An introductory meeting of the delegation was also held with Invest India, the country’s national investment promotion and facilitation agency that acts as the first point of reference for investors in the country. This was a stimulating meeting where both sides discussed the possibilities of supporting each other on IP-related issues.

The delegation had effective interactions with numerous prospective corporate members and met with local SMEs in relation to Ms. Berard’s Presidential Task Force, which is in part studying issues surrounding SMEs and entrepreneurs in IP.

The INTA team also enjoyed an excellent Pre‒Annual Meeting Reception hosted by K&S Partners on March 15 at the iconic India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. This reception was attended by almost 150 guests and set the ball rolling for this year’s much anticipated Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington, USA.

The Association would like to extend its sincere thanks to the supporters of the Association’s efforts in India, including Jyoti Sagar (K&S Partners, India); members of the India Global Advisory Council (IGAC); IGAC Co-chairs, Hemant Singh (Inttl Advocare, India) and M.S. Bharath (Anand & Anand, India); and the following INTA members:

  • Pravin Anand (Anand & Anand, India)
  • Murlidhar Balasubramanian (Castrol India Limited, India)
  • Shailendra Bhandare (Khaitan & Co., India)
  • Mandar Chandrachud (Godrej Consumer Products Ltd, India)
  • Rajamallaiah Cirumalla (Sun Pharmaceuticals, India)
  • Bhavesh Haria (Asian Paints Limited, India)
  • Sarita Joglekar (Reliance Industries Ltd., India)
  • Pulin Kumar (Adidas India, India)
  • Shwetasree Majumder (Fidus Law Chambers, India)
  • Samta Mehra (Remfry & Sagar, India)
  • Ranjan Narula (RNA, IP Attorneys, India)
  • Neeraj Panchal (John Deere India Pvt Ltd., India)

For more information on INTA’s activities in India, contact Gauri Kumar, INTA India Consultant, at [email protected].

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. Law & Practice updates are published without comment from INTA except where it has taken an official position.

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