New law introduces simplified procedures and broader rights
The Indian Trademarks Act 1999, which repeals the Trade and Merchandise Act 1958, has at last come into effect. The need to (i) encourage the flow of investment and transfers of technology, and (ii) simplify and harmonize trademark management systems was recognized in the drafting of the new act. Its main provisions are as follows:
- Shapes, packaging and colour combinations are registrable. Service marks are registrable in Classes 35 to 42 of the Nice Classification.
- The examination system is expedited: the registrar will issue an examination report within three months of the application, upon request and payment of an official fee.
- The concept of collective marks is introduced, as is protection of well-known marks.
- The registration of a trademark is valid for 10 years from the application date.
- The dual Part A and Part B register has been abolished. The registration procedure has been simplified for the single register, allowing multi-class applications for instance.
- In order to enable speedy disposal of appeals and rectification applications, a specialized intellectual property appellate tribunal has been set up to hear appeals from the trademark registrar's decisions.
- Punishment for offences relating to trademark infringement have been increased.
- Border enforcement measures have been enhanced.
Gladys Mirandah, Ella Cheong Mirandah & Sprusons, Singapore
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