On March 21, 2022, J. Prathiba Singh of the Delhi High Court issued directions to the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks’ (“CGPDTM”) regarding opposition proceedings filed, and registrations issued, during the pandemic. The directions were issued pursuant to four (4) petitions filed before the Delhi High Court.
By way of background, in January 2022, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India had passed an order suspending all statutory deadlines falling between March 15, 2020 and February 28, 2022. Notwithstanding this order, potential opposers could not file oppositions after the expiration of the statutory four (4) month period because the CGPDTM’s online filing portal was closed for such oppositions.
Justice Singh opined that the CGPDTM was required to comply with the order of the Supreme Court and extend the limitation period for filing oppositions. The judge held that the limitation period for filing oppositions against applications advertised during the pandemic shall stand extended until May 30, 2022.
She also held that Certificates of Registration issued in respect of trademark applications against which oppositions were filed, or could be filed by May 30th, shall either not be issued or stand suspended till the oppositions are decided by the CGPDTM.
The Court also provided guidance regarding the procedure for filing the oppositions.
The order, however, does not address Indian designations of International Registrations that have matured to registration during the pandemic. Moreover, in light of the order, the fate of injunctions in civil suits that were passed on the basis of trademark registrations obtained during the pandemic period, which may now stand suspended, is uncertain.