COVID-19 UPDATE : EXTENSION OF DEADLINES AND LIMITATIONS
In the wake of recent rise in numbers of COVID -19 patients in India, a lockdown has been imposed by the Government in several cities, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Ahmedabad, where Indian Intellectual Property Offices are located. We are closely monitoring the developing situation at our end and to help minimize the health risks of our staff, clients, and attorneys, our office is functioning remotely. The work schedules for the attorneys and staff remain unchanged. We will continue to be reachable by email and of course, virtual meetings will replace our regular in-person meetings. We have robust IT systems, which have been tested for maintaining the highest standards of confidentiality and for sustaining a remote workforce. We remain committed to providing all of our clients with consistent and high quality services.
EXTENSION OF DEADLINES
The Supreme Court of India taking suo moto cognizance of the gravity of situation, has taken up the issue of extension of limitation and vide an order dated March 23, 2020 in Suo Moto Writ Petition (Civil) no. 3/2020 passed the order that period of limitation, prescribed under the general law of limitation or under special laws (both central and/or state) irrespective of the limitation prescribed under the general law or special laws whether condonable or not shall stand extended w.e.f. 15th march 2020 till further order/s to be passed by Hon’ble Supreme Court.
As effect of said order all the deadline or limitation to perform certain act under any law in force in India (which covers all intellectual property laws including Trade Mark Acts 1999, Patent Act 1970, Designs Act 2000 And Copyright Act 1957), before any Authority, Tribunal Or Court, shall be extended with effect from March 15, 2020.
A formal confirmation from the Indian Intellectual Property Office regarding the “impact of this notification on automatic extension of all deadlines” is currently awaited and several letters have already been sent by different organizations including AIPPI and FICPI India Groups to the IPO regarding the same. We expect a confirmation soon and shall duly update you regarding the same.
NOTIFICATION BY INDIAN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE
It may be noted that all Patent and Trade Mark hearings before IPO have been cancelled till March 31, 2020 and fresh hearings will be appointed at a later date.
The Indian Intellectual property rights Office has also issued notifications informing extension of certain deadlines as per provisions available in the respective Acts/Rules, however the notice is not clear in many respects and also the extension is not automatic.
In view of the order passed by Hon’ble Supreme Court, several representations have been made by Indian groups (including from AIPPI and FICPI) to the IPO and the Ministry requesting that a categorical notification be issued by the DPIIT/IPO that all deadlines in all, IP matters before the IPO (inclusive of new patent application filing and RFE), must be postponed/deferred without any exceptions until further order/s is passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. Our team is monitoring advice from the Ministry, Indian IPO, and other IP offices, and will advise of further developments.
We may add that order of Hon’ble Supreme Court is in respect of only extension of limitation period and deadlines, however for smooth prosecution it is advisable to timely comply with all the given deadlines and/or requirements, wherever possible until final confirmation from the IPO.
Further, once again, please note that our firm has taken steps to ensure smooth and uninterrupted business operations and thus, are able to take care of all matters with our usual efficiency and shall be able to handle all new instructions including filing of new applications during this period.
Should you have any questions please feel free to contact us.
Lastly and most importantly, our prayers and thoughts for every one affected by this global pandemic and like everyone else, we're concerned about the current situation and hope for the outbreak to subside soon. We remain strong in spirit and wish all of you good health.