Extension of IP Deadlines in India and continuity of work in view of spread of COVID-19

In the light of the global outbreak of COVID-19, a nationwide lockdown has been enforced for 21 days in India (from 25 March 2020) for precautionary purposes. This lockdown has resulted in halting most of the activities including legal activities [but IP e-filing portals are presently active] and transportation of non-essential goods [like courier services of documentations]. Relying on our IT systems, we are continuing to work and extend our services and continue to be available to assist our friends and colleagues during these uncertain times.

For your ready reference, a brief about various notifications in this regard by IPO and order by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India extending general timelines is given below:

Extension of deadlines for IP matters by Office of CGPDTM

In view of spread of COVID-19 the Office of Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trademarks [O/o CGPDTM] has issued following notifications for extensions of various deadlines:

General notice covering all IP Acts for period from 25 March 2020 to 14 April 2020:

The due dates / timelines / periods prescribed under different IP Acts and Rules administered by the O/o CGPDTM with respect to completion of various acts/activities, filing of any reply/document, payment of fees, etc. regarding any IP applications filed with the offices under the administrative control of the O/o CGPDTM shall be the date on which the offices will re-open.  Please note that as on date [and in absence of further updates from Government of India] re-opening date is expected to be 15 April 2020 (after 21 days lockdown enforced in India on 25 March 2020).

Extensions specific to Patent Matters:

Cancellation of Hearings:

All the hearings in Patent Office including those schedules through video Conferences between 23rd March 2020 and 14th April 2020 stand cancelled. Further dates of rescheduled hearings will be communicated separately by Indian Patent Office.

Extension of non-extendable deadlines:

The Indian Patent Office has acknowledged / taken spread of coronavirus as a reason to invoke Rule 6(6). Under said rule even non-extendable deadlines may also be extended upon filing of petition to condone such delay. However, such extension will have to be filed not later than one month from the date when such COVID-19 outbreak ceased to exist. As per provision to said rule, the delay condoned by the Controller shall not exceed the period for which such emergency was in force, or six months from the expiry of the prescribed period, whichever is earlier.

Extensions specific to Trademark Matters:

Cancellation of Hearings:

All the hearings in Trademark Registry between 17th March 2020 and 15th April 2020 stand cancelled. Further dates of rescheduled hearings will be communicated separately by the Indian Trademark Registry.

Acknowledgment of spread of COVID-19 as a reason under section 131:

The Trademark Registry has allowed acknowledged / taken spread of coronavirus as a reason to invoke section 131. Under said section, on application made along with prescribed fees, the time for doing any act (not being a time expressly provided in the Act) may be extended even after expiry of the deadline. As per notification, the applicant can file request for extension of time (now or after situation becomes normal) and such request will be consider by the Registrar in accordance to law.

Extensions of deadlines by Courts

In general, Courts in India have closed down for varying periods and are mostly taking urgent matters via video hearings. However, the Supreme Court in sweeping order has stated as follows:

“…to obviate such difficulties and to ensure that lawyers/litigants do not have to come physically to file such proceedings in respective Courts/Tribunals across the country including this Court, it is hereby ordered that a period of limitation in all such proceedings, irrespective of the limitation prescribed under the general law or Special Laws whether condonable or not shall stand extended with effect from 15th March 2020 till further order/s to be passed by this Court in present proceedings…”

Please note that no such confirmation of extension of deadlines has been received from O/o CGPDTM in this regard as on date. 

Be safe and take care!

Disclaimer: Present post is merely an update which cannot be quoted in any legal proceedings and will have no legal purpose. For any clarification and further information, you may contact us at mehta@mehtaip.com.