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India's Trademark Office Loses Large Number of Registrations

post Wednesday October 26, 2011

Tags: india; trademark;

registrations

 

April 7th, 2011 Justice Muralidhar of the Delhi High Court asked the government to investigate on the loss of 44,404 trade mark registrations since 2006. It is said that the trademark database is full of errors and some of the officials are accused of corruption. Many IP practitioners in India are not surprised if they received letters from India trademark office stating that the subject file is missing or misplace.  On the same day P H Kurian, India’s controller general of patent, designs and trademarks, in a notice admitted that the status of pending and registered trademarks are wrong “in quite a large number of cases”.

Department of Industrial Property and Promotion (DIPP), who was asked by the Delhi high court to investigate this issue, found out that the at least 44,404 trademark related files were missing when they were transferred from central Mumbai office to the local offices. It is estimated that the total number of lost file can as high as 60,052. This significant loss of files leads to questioning of the performance and the overall management of India trademark office.

Corruption

Some officers from the trademark office are now facing the charges of corruption. It is stated that many records in the trademark database system were deleted or misplaced that the request of interested parties. In March 2011, India’s Central Bureau of Investigation arrested N D Kasturi, the deputy register of trade marks in Chennai. According to the police statement, they found Rs 3.3 million ($73,000) in cash, 3.8kg of gold ornaments and ownership of 6 flats in different India cities.

Considering the problems within the trademark office and the loss of files, DIPP informed the High Court that it would implement a scientific record to keep scheme to ensure all files were in order and proposed a action plan to prevent the recurrence of such events. The DIPP and the Controller General of Patents, Trademarks and Designs have now undertaken before the High Court that according to Indian Intellectual Property Blog:

1. Quarterly and half yearly audits of all the files stored in the different trademark registries would be done and professional advise taken if necessary;

2. Where a file is located with missing papers on suspected tampering, a quick enquiry shall be conducted and if the malafide is established prima facie, an FIR shall be lodged; 

3. Where the file is not traceable and possibly misplaced but no  malafide is suspected, departmental action should be taken to  fix responsibility for negligence;

4. To implement a scientific record keeping practice to ensure all files were in order;

5. To reconstruct the missing/misplaced files with the available records online or on file.

 

The Court has expressed its concern on this alarming situation and has directed the DIPP that the above steps are strictly implemented.

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