We have been made aware that, on 1 April 2016, the Indian Trade Mark Office abandoned a large number of pending trade mark applications and concluded a number of ongoing trade mark disputes due to a perceived notion that deadlines had not been met. In many cases, this was undertaken in error and the proceedings have come to an end despite ongoing prosecution.
Whilst it was initially unclear as to whether this was a conscious motion or an administrative error, the Indian Government issued a Public Notice on 4 April 2016 confirming that this was intentional; widely presumed to be an attempt at clearing a backlog of pending cases to comply with the World Intellectual Property Organisation's guidelines on the length of registration process.
Due to the sudden nature of this undertaking and the understandable outcry from those in the profession, the Indian Trade Mark Office provided an opportunity for interested parties to appeal the abandonment of any applications and disputes and for proceedings to be reinstated. The Indian Intellectual Property Attorneys ' Association (IPAA) did not consider this attempt at rectifying the situation acceptable and have today, 6 April 2016, filed a writ petition with the High Court in Delhi. The Court has subsequently granted a stay in proceedings which, according to livemint.com, will expire on 12 May 2016.