India has an increasingly international outlook when it comes to trademark matters and hopes to join the Madrid Protocol in the next few years. It is already compliant with the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and further amendments to the Trademark Act are due to come into force shortly. The Indian judiciary is commended for its progressive approach, particularly in Delhi; however, staff at the trademark registry tend to be less sophisticated and can lack understanding of more complex matters, such as non-traditional trademarks. The news that in 2011 the Trademarks Office lost thousands of files further suggests a need for improvement. Many have praised the work of PH Kurian, former controller general of patents, designs and trademark at India's IP office. Prior to his resignation this year, he made many positive changes to streamline and accelerate the registration process and increase online access. India is a vibrant marketplace that can support a large number of firms, from large and long-established boutiques to general practice firms and smaller specialised ensembles. "There is a lot of work, but also a lot of competition." Firms are increasingly acting for domestic clients as Indian companies become more aware of the importance of intellectual property, as well as having more money to spend on protecting their trademarks.
Formerly at Anand and Anand, Neel Mason recently set up his own firm – Mason & Associates – focusing on trademark and copyright matters, across the entertainment and publishing industries in particular. He handles a mix of trademark work, but remains best known for contentious matters; he is “a brilliant lawyer who has done a lot of litigation”. Inttl Advocare’s Hemant Singh enjoys strong market recognition and respect. “A great lawyer who has done some highly notable litigation in the past few years”, he represents major multinational clients including Pernod Ricard and LG Electronics. Shwetasree Majumder of Fidus Law Chambers is a “very smart, dynamic lawyer who performs to a top standard”, working with Walt Disney in India and a number of Indian cricket teams. Ranjan Narula’s eponymous firm Ranjan Narula Associates is closely associated with Rouse. He is “enjoying success in guiding his practice into the mainstream” and handles the Indian work of a number of international clients, including sportswear manufacturers and internet companies. Based in Mumbai, Xerxes Ranina of Neolegal Associates has a particular focus on media and entertainment, acting for Hollywood film studios, among others. As such, copyright figures strongly in his practice, but he also handles a significant amount of trademark matters. Clients rate his excellent analysis, ease of communication, focus and judgement among his distinguishing qualities as a practitioner. Sushant Singh has inherited the mantle at Sushant M Singh & Associates from his father, where he is a “very promising up and comer”.