Thursday, May 5, 2011

Have You Seen Me? -- India's 44,000 Missing Trademark Files

For those of us wondering why it takes so long to obtain a trademark registration in India, we now have a bit of an answer. A public notice dated April 25, 2011 has been posted on the India Trade Mark Office website, explaining that 44,404 trademark files have gone missing.

The public notice, written by the India Comptroller of Patent, Designs and Trademarks, reads:
This Public Notice is issued in pursuance of the directions issued by the Hon'ble Delhi High Courtin Civil Writ Petition No.12505 of 2009 dated 6.4.2011. All the public and in particular the registered proprietors are hereby informed that a total of 44,404 files relating to registered trade marks are missing from different branches of the Trade Marks Registry. Branchwise missing list is attached to this notice. The Trade Marks Registry is having critical information in digital format in respect of all these missing files such as the trade mark applied for, the name of the applicant, the address for correspondence, agent on record as available in the Trade Marks Journal and details of renewal and subsequent changes available in the electronic history records of the concerned mark. However, in order to update the trade mark office records it has now become necessary to reconstitute these files with inputs from the registered proprietors. It would also be in the interest of the registered proprietors to have the files reconstituted for better protection and maintenance of their marks. All the registered proprietors/agents of registered trade marks attached to this notice are requested to furnish self attested copies of the available documents such as trade mark application in form TM-1, additional representation , Examination report, Acceptance order, registration certificate, all documents relating to assignment/ transmission, change in name and address of applicant, any court order on the matter and all other relevant documents if any before 31st July, 2011 at the appropriate Registry. The documents so furnished will be digitised and uploaded in the electronic server of the Registry so as to maintain electronic records as well. The Trade Marks Registry will follow the procedure for reconstitution issued by separate Office Circular. 

Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks
What is interesting is that these missing files came to light not as a result of normal file maintenance practice but rather from the India Trade Mark Office's efforts to modernize its files. It is not clear what the risk may be, going forward, for further loses of files once the moderization process is completed. Further, no word yet as to how many patent files are unaccounted for. That patent modernization process may not have commenced yet, although this is also unclear.
And finally, no word on how any of this has impacted the commercial competitiveness of India businesses. Years ago, during the process of moving from one house to another, my family and I came to live out of boxes for an extended period of time. In fact, most of our non-essential possessions remained in boxes and in storage while we traversed from on house to another over an extended period. Once we finally arrived at our new home, it became clear to all of us that the items in the boxes, the access to which was denied to us for quite a while, were not as critical to our needs or happiness as we had once thought.
Wondering if the same can be said for the owners of the 44,404 lost Indian trademark files. If these trademark owners can go about their business without a trademark registration, and if no one was apparently aware -- until recently -- that the files were lost, then perhaps the need for an India trademark registration may not be all that important, after all. Something to ponder, I suppose.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Almost 70 yrs. nobody worked a system had to be created out of nothing , a lot of light has been kindled in the world of the exceptionally brilliant CG