Monica Datta and Abhishek Gurbani at Saikrishna & Associates analyse the Trade Marks Rules, 2017
After being over a year in the pipeline, the Trade Marks Rules, 2017, were notified by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on 6 March, replacing the Trade Marks Rules, 2002.
The new rules reduce the number of forms from a surfeit of 74 to a minimal eight forms. Giving a positive push to individuals, startups and small enterprises, a proportionate fee structure based on categorization of the applicant has also been introduced; the statutory fee for filing an application now stands divided into two categories of individual/startup/small enterprise and others, with the former getting a rebate of 50% in the filing fees. The new rules also introduce a “green rebate” of 10% on the official fee to encourage e-filing.
A welcome change, aimed perhaps at curbing the misleading user statements inserted by prospective applicants, is the rule of filing an affidavit with supporting evidence in relation to claimed user statements which precede the date of application. This is likely to be a big relief to bona fide users of marks who often suffer at the hands of unscrupulous applicants claiming false user statements to overcome hurdles during the prosecution stage.
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MONICA DATTA is a partner at Saikrishna & Associates and leads its commercial IP practice. ABHISHEK GURBANI is an associate in the commercial IP practice of the firm.