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09 Mar 2017

The Trademark Rules, 2017: Process made simpler, Faster, Start-up friendly but dearer

In a constructive attempt to streamline, simplify and expedite the trademark registration processes, the Trade Mark Rules, 2017 have been notified and came into effect from March 6th 2017. In consonance with the National IPR Policy, 2016, the Rules also introduce specific provisions for Start-Ups and Small Enterprises to stimulate and promote innovation and creativity among such entities.

The Salient Features of the Rules are as follows:

GENERAL:

  • Definition of Start-Ups and Small Enterprise introduced.
  • Number of Forms has been reduced from 74 to 8. 
  • Procedures relating to registration as Registered User of trademarks have been simplified. 
  • Provisions have been introduced to serve all applications, notices, statements and other documents electronically – from applicants to the Registry and vice-versa.

OFFICIAL FEES:

  • Government Fee applicable for various trademark registration related activities has been simplified by reducing the number of entries to just 23. 
  • Filing fee of a new application has been increased by about 125 %. (INR 9,000.00).
  • Renewal fee increased close to 100% (INR 10,000.00).
  • Fee for expedited registration process increased by 100% (INR 40,000.00).
  • Handling fee for Madrid Applications increased by 150% (INR 5,000.00).
  • 50% discount on the new filing fee for Individuals/Start-Ups/Small Enterprise.
  • To promote e-filing, the fee for online filing has been kept 10% lower as compared to fees for physical filing. 
  • Fee for extra characters (beyond 500 characters) in the description of goods/services has been done away with.

EXPEDITED PROCESSING OF APPLICATIONS:

  • Provisions laid down for expediting the registration from filing through registration on payment of higher fees. Earlier, only examination of application could be expedited.

REPRESENTATION OF SOUND MARKS:

  • Sound marks applications to be also accompanied by reproduction in MP3 format (not exceeding thirty seconds’ length).

EXPEDITE OPPOSITION PROCEEDINGS:

  • Provision to file counter statement to the notice of opposition as soon as it is made available online.
  • The requirement of serving a copy of opposition notice shall be dispensed with if a counterstatement has already been filed based on electronic copy of notice available online.
  • No scope for seeking extensions in case of filing evidences.  
  • The number of adjournments for hearings reduced to 2 for each party and each adjournment shall not be allowed for more than 30 days.
  • Mandatory costs up to INR 10,000.00 to be awarded to either the Applicant or the Opponent (depending on the case) for not contesting opposition proceedings thereafter.

WELL-KNOWN TRADEMARKS:

  • Modalities for determination of a trademark as a well-known mark have been introduced for the first time. 
  • Application to be filed with an exorbitant fee of INR 1,00,000.00 per mark and only through e-filing.

VIDEO-CONFERENCING OF HEARINGS:

  • Provisions have been laid down to hold personal hearing through video- conferencing or other audio-visual communication devices.

RENEWAL OF REGISTRATION:

  • The window for renewal of registration now opens one year prior to the date of expiration as against six months under the old Rules.

EXTENSION OF TIME:

  • Any extension of time, as specifically allowed under the Trademarks Act, 1999, shall not exceed one month.

ASSIGNMENT OF TRADEMARKS:

  • Providing a duly certified copy of original document, instrument or deed purporting to transfer the title will suffice; an original instrument or deed is no longer necessary. 
  • Filing of Affidavit along with the application for recordal of assignment is no longer required.  

STATEMENT OF USE:

  • All applications (except with the intent to use) shall contain a statement of use with respect to ALL goods or services mentioned in the application.

An affidavit testifying such use (if application claimed prior user date) along with the supporting documents has to be filed.

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