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India Welcomes The New Trademark Rules, 2017

By Salome Bodaji, Associate

The Trademark Rules, 2017 have come into force from 6thMarch, 2017. The new Rules published by the Department of Industrial Promotion and Policy (DIPP) have replaced the hitherto Trademark Rules of 2002. Since the last five years, considerable improvements have been observed in the patent and trademark regimes of India. These improvements have been majorly taken source from India’s obligations under TRIPS.

These Rules boost and strengthen the Indian Intellectual Property regime and aim at simplifying the registration procedure, with fewer forms and improved online filing processes.
The major changes brought by the 2017 Trademark Rules are as follows:-

Official Fees:
The new Rules have increased the trademark registration costs in India.

  1. Under the Old Rules of 2002, the cost for filing a new application on behalf of a company or trust or partnership was Rs.4000 for physical filing as well as e-filing. The revised cost under the New Rules has been changed to Rs 10,000 for physical filing and Rs 9000 for E-filing.
  2. Cost for filing an application for renewal of trademark under the Old Rules was Rs 5000 per class, but the revised cost under the New Rules has been changed to Rs 10,000 per class for physical filing and Rs 9000 per class for E-filing.
  3. The cost to register a subsequent proprietor in case of assignment or transfer of a trademark has been changed to Rs 10,000 for physical filing and Rs 9000 for E-filing from Rs.5000 as per the New Rules.
  4. There is no change in the cost for adding a person as a registered user.
  5. Fees for extension of time, certified copy of registration certificate or duplicate registration certificate, for both physical and E-filing was Rs 500 that has now been revised to Rs 1,000 for physical filing and Rs 900 for E-filing.
  6. The cost for expedited processing of an application was Rs 12,500 which is now Rs 40,000 for both, physical filing and E-filing.
  7. The handling fees for Madrid Applications was Rs 2000 which has been revised to Rs 5000.

New Forms
75 forms and applications have now been replaced by 8 consolidated forms, thereby streamlining the filing process.

Electronic Service of Document
The New Rules state that all documents and whatever communication has to be done by the Registry shall be done through E-mail and such E-mail will amount to service of the document. This digital move will significantly cut down the delay in the oppositions in as trademark applications by enabling the applicants to file their responses without having to wait for long.

Trademark Applicants: Recognition of Start-ups and small businesses
The new category includes Individuals/ Startups/ Small Enterprises and Others. “Startups and Small Enterprises” have been defined under the new rules and it includes Indian and Foreign entities as well.

Expedited processing of application
The New Rules allow applicants to fast track the processing of their trademark applications. This move would not only involve a speedier examination process, but also faster processing at every subsequent stage until grant of registration, as applicable. Employing such a mode of processing would also entail a cost of more than four times the applicable filing fee.

Benefits for Start-Ups
The New Rules have tremendous benefits for individuals, start-ups and small enterprises. The official fees for Start-ups and small enterprises has been reduced to half the amount.

Promotion of E-filing
The New Rules are in favour of E-Filing. For every kind of application, there has been a reduction in the fee for E-Filing.

Well Know Mark
Under the Old Rules there was no application or provision for registration of a mark as a well-known mark. Under the New Rules an application to the Registrar to get the status of well-known mark.

Sound Marks
Before the new rules were introduced, getting sound marks registered was an extremely difficult task as the applicant had to graphically represent the sound or had to spell out the tune. With the New Rules of 2017, trademark application has now become a more simplified process. The applicant has to only submit the mark in MP3 format not exceeding 30 seconds along with a graphical representation of the sound notations.

Video Conferencing:
The new Rules direct the Registrar to conduct show cause/ opposition hearings through video conferencing or through other audio visual devices.

Notice of Opposition
Previously the applicant had to wait for the notice of opposition to be served physically in order to file a counter statement. Now one can also file counter statement without having to wait for the copy to be served physically. It is expected that these new amendments would majorly increase the overall efficiency of the Trademark system in India and would bring positive changes and encourage one and all to seek protection of their trademarks.