With the amount of pending matters piling up across the five Trade Marks Registry offices, desperate measures have been taken by the Registry to reduce the burden and for speedy disposal of all pending matters. As a welcome attempt to deal with the issue of pendency, the Controller General of Patent Designs & Trade Marks, in collaboration with the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) issued a Public Notice on April 05, 2016 undertaking to initiate a project to liquidate such pending matters before the Trade Marks Registry, Delhi through mediation and conciliation.

Initially, it was decided that the project will be commenced on a pilot basis, referring 500 pending oppositions/ rectifications to mediation and conciliation based on consent by the parties and in accordance to the mediation/conciliation Rules framed under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.

All interested parties wiling to resolve their respective opposition/rectification matters pending before the Trade Marks Registry, Delhi could submit their consent via a “Consent Form” sent to Shri Hemant Khosla, In-charge, Tribunal Section, TMR, Delhi through mail at hemantk.tmr@nic.in within 30 days from the date of the Public Notice.

In furtherance of the Public Notice, the Delhi State Legal Services Authority, Delhi released the Standard Operating Protocol in respect of medication process in cases pending before the Registrar of Trade Marks, Delhi on May 13, 2016. The Standard Operating Protocol were framed in order to institutionalize and conduct mediation in an orderly, transparent and result oriented manner.

Highlights of the Standard Operating Protocol

  • Stage of Reference

A request for hearing in opposition/rectification matter pending before the Trade Marks Registry, Delhi may be filed at any stage, wherein final hearing is not concluded.

  • Application for Reference

Reference to Mediation can be made by the Registrar/competent authority nominated/authorised by the Registrar in this behalf wherein either of the party to a pending matter voluntarily submits consent on prescribed form for reference of its disputes to Mediation;

The Registrar of the Trade Marks or competent authority nominated/authorised by the Registrar in this behalf may also refer the any Opposition/Rectification matter pending before him to Mediation if he is satisfied that there is existing element of settlement in such pending matter and he may call upon the parties to submit themselves to the jurisdiction of the Mediator for amicable settlement of their disputes.

Both the parties may appear themselves in person or through their authorized representative for reference of their matter/dispute to Mediation before the Registrar/competent authority nominated/authorised by the Registrar in this behalf;

  • Procedure on Reference

When a case is received from the office of Registrar Trade Marks for Mediation, the office of DSLSA shall issue a notice to both/all the parties of the given case to appear before the designated/nominated authority by DSLSA on a certain date and place either personally or through the authorized representative of the parties.

Once parties and/or their authorized representative put in their appearance and agrees for the Mediation, the matter shall be assigned to one of the Mediator.

The Mediator will take up the matter for mediation as per the norms and module framed by Mediation & Conciliation Project Committee, Supreme Court of India and shall also take into accord the statutory provisions stipulated under the Trade Marks Act. 1999 and Rules made thereunder while adjudicating upon the settlement.

Concluding Remarks

This initiative of the Trade Mark Registry (Delhi) to address the issue of pendency certainly marks the onset of alternate dispute resolution mechanisms for resolving intellectual property rights disputes in India. The pilot project opens up an alternative avenue for the parties to resolve their disputes in a speedier manner.