India: IPO issues abandonment notice in multiple cases despite suspension orders from Supreme Court
In order to contain the effect of the nationwide lockdown on Intellectual Property matters in India, the Indian Intellectual Property Office (IPO) had issued a Public Notice, dated June 19, 2020, clarifying that the timelines for completion of various proceedings, filing of documents, payment of fees, etc. falling due after March 15, 2020, stand suspended until further notice. This was in line with the order of the Supreme Court, pronounced on March 23, 2020, suspending deadlines in all matters until further orders. Thus, effectively all due dates from March 15, 2020 currently stand suspended.
However, it has been observed that despite the order of the Supreme Court and the public notice, the Indian Patent Office has passed adverse abandonment orders where no action was taken within the original deadline falling within the suspension period (i.e. after March 15, 2020 till today). In particular, the abandonment notices relate to non-filing of responses to office actions in Patent cases within 6 months from the date of the First Examination Report, where no extension request was filed by the Applicant. You may note that the 6 months deadline is extendable by 3 months by filing an extension request prior to the expiry of 6 months deadline.
Thus, we remind all clients to adhere to the original deadline in all cases, in particular non extendable deadlines, including convention or national phase application deadline, request for examination deadline, 6 month deadline (extendable by 3 months) to respond to First Examination Report and so on. Further, in case you have any matter/s wherein the original deadline has lapsed (within the period of suspension of deadline) and no action has been taken, kindly instruct us at the earliest so that we may take necessary steps to avoid any adverse action by the IPO.
Further, we advise you to provide us with instructions and documents for any filings/actions with the IPO in a timely manner so that we can take the necessary action within the original deadline.
Rest assured, we are closely monitoring the developments in this regard and shall keep you updated.