Important Note On Recent Notifications Issued By Various IP Offices Of India In View Of Covid-19 Outbreak

Date : March 20, 2020

Various Intellectual Property Offices of India recently issued certain notifications in view of the coronavirus disease (COVID 19) outbreak in India. The notifications were issued between March 13, 2020 and March 19, 2020 primarily adjourning hearing and other proceedings originally scheduled till March 31, 2020. Provided herein below is a short summary of the developments so far.

Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB): The Deputy Registrar of IPAB notified on March 13, 2020 (see here) that all cases listed on March 16, 2020 and March 17, 2020 will be reposted to April 7, 2020 and April 8, 2020 respectively. A more pertinent notification was issued on March 16, 2020 which stated that IPAB will only attend to urgent matters from March 16, 2020 and lawyers can contact Deputy Registrar for listing of urgent matters. A further notification dated March 18, 2020 added few more dates (see both notifications here).

Patent Office: Vide Notification dated March 19, 2020 (see here), all in-person hearing in Patents and Designs matters scheduled on or before April 15, 2020 are to be converted to a Video Conferencing (VC) hearings. Wherever the applicant is unable to for the VC hearing, the Controller shall adjourn such hearing for a date after April 15, 2020, while hearings scheduled after April 15, 2020 will remain as it is.

Furthermore, the Notification states that as per Rule 6(6) of the Patent Rules, delay in transmitting or re-submitting documents to the Patent Office will be condoned/ timeline be extended by the Controller when such petition is made within one month from the date such COVID-19 outbreak ceased to exist.

Trademark Registry: The Indian Trademark Registry issued a notification dated March 16, 2020 (see here) adjourning all trademark related hearing schedule between March 17, 2020 and April 15, 2020. The rescheduled date(s) will be announced in due course. A notification was also issued on March 10, 2020 adjourning opposition hearings fixed on March 12, 2020 to March 30, 2020, for administrative reasons, however, this March 10, 2020 notification has also been cancelled vide a separate March 19, 2020 notification (see here).

Design Office: Two urgent notices were issued by the Designs Office, both dated March 17, 2020 (see both notifications here). Vide these notifications, hearing scheduled on March 27, 2020 before Dr. S. K Barik, Assistant Controller of Patents & Designs, were adjourned to April 22, 2020 while hearing scheduled between March 18, 2020 and April 3, 2020 before Mr. Arup Garu, Assistant Controller of Patents & Designs, were adjourned to dates between April 16, 2020 and April 28, 2020.

Copyright Office: Notification dated March 16, 2020 (see here) adjourned all copyright related hearing scheduled from March 17, 2020 to March 31, 2020. The rescheduled date(s) will be announced in due course.

Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority: Vide notification dated March 17, 2020 (see here), all hearings till April 15, 2020 before before Learned Registrar, Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers’ Rights Authority have been postponed. The rescheduled date(s) will be announced in due course.

Geographical Indication Registry and Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout-Design Registry (SICLDR): No notification issued

We can expect the various IP Offices to issue further notification/ clarification depending on how the COVID-19 outbreak is handled at a national and international level. We wish one and all to: STAY SAFE, STAY HEALTHY.

Author:  Arindam Purkayastha, Patent Attorney at Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys.  In case of any queries please contact/write back to us at  arindam@khuranaandkhurana.com.