Notifications by the Indian Intellectual Property Office during COVID-19

The paranoia around the COVID-19 continues to etch the air with causalities, while the citizens and the government continue to strive to put their best foot forward to ensure maximum safety and avoid anarchy. With this, we would like to inform you that, the Indian government has been meticulous in their work and has always ensured the best for its citizens which is reflected in each of its departments, ministries, and agencies.

One such agency is the Indian Intellectual Property Office, officially known as the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks (Office of CGPDTM), (which is under the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry), has released certain notifications amid this stressful time.

The notices by the CGPDTM and each of the Offices under the CGPDTM, are summarized below, in reverse chronology:

  1. OFFICE OF THE CONTROLLER GENERAL OF PATENTS, DESIGNS AND TRADEMARKS (CGPDTM)

Superseding all the other notifications, the notification released by the CGPDTM on March 25, 2020, has stated that all the Offices under the CGPDTM will remain closed for a period of 21 days with effect from March 25, 2020, pursuant to the order of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India, which called for a compulsory lockdown for a period of 21 days.

The CGPDTM has announced on March 24, 2020 (on its website) that the last date to register for the Patent Agent Exam 2020 has been extended to April 15, 2020.

  1. PATENT OFFICE

The Indian Patent Office has announced that all Video Conferencing (VC) hearings scheduled between 23rd March 2020 and 31st March 2020 stand cancelled. Further dates of rescheduled hearings shall be communicated shortly.

  • Notice dated March 19, 2020
  • All in-person hearings at the Indian Patent and Designs Office scheduled on or before April 15, 2020, has been changed to Video Conferencing (VC) hearings. In case the Applicant is unable to agree for the VC hearing, the Controller shall adjourn the hearing for a date later than April 15, 2020. However, hearings post-April 15, 2020 remain unchanged.
  • The Indian Patent Office has also magnanimously allowed for delay/extension of time for submission of documents relating to replies or hearings and is ready to condone such delay/requests for extension of time and accept the submissions.
  • The necessary details of this public notice, have been communicated to all the branches of the Indian Patent Office.
  1. TRADEMARKS REGISTRY

The Indian Trade Marks Registry has announced that all Applicants can file a request for extension of time and such a request would be considered in accordance with the law.

The Indian Trade Marks Registry has announced that all hearings between the period of March 17, 2020, to April 15, 2020, have been adjourned and will be rescheduled in due course of time.

  1. COPYRIGHT OFFICE

The Indian Copyright Office has announced that all hearings between the period of March 17, 2020, to March 31, 2020, have been adjourned and will be rescheduled in due course of time.

The Indian Courts too, have been no less of a caretaker during this unexpected medical situation. Taking suo-moto cognizance of the situation, the Supreme Court of India acted diligently in these times and has released its Supreme Court order dated March 23, 2020. The order recites that the statute of limitations, either through general laws or specific laws, shall not be applicable to the current litigation proceedings with effect March 15, 2020, until further orders are passed. This is applicable to all the subordinate courts/Tribunals within their respective jurisdictions.

In light of the above, we urge our dearest patrons, to not worry about deadlines, as it can get to even the best of us. We humbly request you to dedicate this time to keep yourself and your family safe and healthy.

Stay at home! Stay healthy! Stay safe!