Measures taken to streamline functioning of Trademarks Registry

India

The controller general of patents, designs and trademarks has issued a series of notices to ensure the smooth functioning of the various departments of the Trademarks Registry and the prompt disposal of pending cases. Several sections have been established, with a deputy registrar or assistant registrar charged with supervising and disposing of the backlog in each section. Responsibilities and targets, which have been set for officials in each section, must be accomplished during the specific timeframe set forth by the controller general.

The main features of the guidelines are as follows:

  • A team of 19 examiners has specifically been set up to examine applications. Each examiner must assess at least 50 applications per day. With 19 examiners, this would amount to 950 applications per day. Although it appears to be a cumbersome task, it seems achievable and would certainly improve the backlog of cases pending examination.
  • A team of nine supervisory examiners has been constituted to review the replies filed in response to the examination reports. Each examiner must take up at least 75 cases per day. This means that a total of 675 replies will be scrutinised each day, which will help to speed up the prosecution of applications.
  • A team of five senior officials has been set up in each office to dispose of cases which have been pending for a long time and to take all appropriate steps to dispose of these applications before September 30 2012.
  • A team of 12 hearing officers has been constituted in the Show-Cause Hearing Section, consisting of assistant registrars and senior examiners. The controller general will allot 300 cases to each designated officers, who will hear and dispose of show-cause hearings on a 'first filed' basis. Each hearing officer must dispose of at least 200 cases per month. Cases will be allotted only if the hearing officer has fewer than 100 cases pending before him or her. In theory, 2400 applications will be heard and disposed of per month.
  • A team of 13 hearing officers consisting of an assistant/deputy registrar and senior examiners has been set up to hear and dispose of cases in the Assignment and Registered User Section. The hearing officers must dispose of at least 200 Assignment and Registered User requests per month. In theory, 2600 requests will be disposed of by the hearing officers in a single month.

By setting up these teams, the controller general aims to clear the backlog in the main sections of the registry. The controller general has also set targets and deadlines for each section; senior registrars and examiners have been included in each section to ensure the quick and unbiased disposal of cases.

If the targets and deadlines are complied with, the registry should have cleared its backlog in around three to four years' time, or even less. Matters which have been pending for many years should be dealt with promptly, thereby safeguarding the interests of IP rights holders.

Rajiv Suri and Ajay Kumar, Ranjan Narula Associates, Delhi

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