For those of you who use (and love, maybe?) the e-filing system (“system”) of the Trademarks Office, things just got lovelier. Until the evening of February 05, 2014, the Trademark Office’s system allowed trademark applications (under various forms) along with a couple of requests such as responding to the examination report issued by the Trademarks Office, filing a request for inclusion of excess characters in the specification of goods or services to be filed online.

Late in the evening of February 05, 2014 though, the Trademarks Office announced that it has created facilities for filing certain other requests online. These requests pertain to division of applications, expedited examination, renewals, oppositions, procuring duplicate registration certificate and legal use certificate, requesting no-objection certificate from the Trademarks Office for copyright applications etc. With all these facilities made available online, the Trademarks Office now boasts of having 33 forms online. This is quite a number considering the fact that the number of forms under the Trademarks Rules itself is a little more than 70. This also seems like a very good move since the forms made available online are the most frequently used forms.

Using the system

Again, those familiar with the system would be able to navigate through it quite easily. I was thoroughly excited about using the system today and an opportune moment presented itself. We were required to take over a registered trademark which had not been renewed before its validity expired. I used this opportunity to see how the system worked.

Since the validity of this trademark expired only last December, we were required to pay a surcharge for late renewal along with the renewal fee. So when I clicked on Form TM-12 (for requesting renewal) and keyed in the application number, the system prompted me to file a Form TM-10 (for paying the surcharge). Smooth, this one. Once I accepted to pay the surcharge, the system allowed me to edit the address for service on Form TM- 12 and upload the Power of Attorney. With these being done, the system generated the Forms TM-10 and TM-12 for signing and payment.

So far the system worked quite seamlessly. However, it hit a glitch when I had to generate the filing receipt after the payment. Typically, the filing receipt is generated right after the payment is made. This time though it showed an error. So I moved to ‘payment history’ tab to retrieve the filing receipt. This filing receipt only mentioned the official fee paid and nothing more.

Usually, a filing receipt issued by the Trademarks Office would contain at least the application number, the class of goods or services, the applicant information, the form for which the filing receipt was issued and finally, the official fee. So I verified the e-register of the Trademarks Office and to my utter dismay it did not display the Forms TM-10 and TM-12.

We plan to inform the Trademarks Office of this issue and hope that it would be resolved quickly. I am however really glad that most of the regular requests can be made online now.

Thoughts corner

I wonder though if the Trademarks Office would take a cue from the Indian Patent Office and propose to increase the fees for requests made by paper filing when it has created facilities for e-filing of those requests. This would then show that the Trademarks Office is indeed keen on going paperless. Also, I am sure for the time being the Trademarks Office would expect us to submit the original documents in paper form. Even so, I am happy the Trademarks Office has set the ball rolling for a paperless office and sometime in the future, we could have a paperless government office!

While in this post I have shared my experience with the system, I am hoping that there would be others who would come forward and share their experiences, good and bad, so that we can provide our feedback to the Trademarks Office as its de facto test engineers.

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