India - Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) Abolished.

Legal News & Analysis - Asia Pacific - India - Intellectual Property

24 May 2021

 

The President of India on 5th April promulgated the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation And Conditions Of Service) Ordinance, 2021, whereby the Central Government has amended nine Acts and abolished five Appellate Authorities including the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB).
 

The Ministry of Finance and Corporate Affairs introduced a bill titled as Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2021 on13 February 2021 in the Lok Sabha which sought to abolish various Tribunals and Authorities, including the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB); since the Parliament was not in session, the bill could not be passed. Hence now, an ordinance was passed making it the law.

 

The authorities that are sought to be abolished include:
 

1. Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (constituted under section 5D of the Cinematograph Act, 1952;
2. Customs Appellate Authority;
3. Copyright Board established under the Copyright Act;
4. Intellectual Property Appellate Board;
5. Airport Appellate Tribunal;

 

Since the powers of these authorities have now been transferred to the High Court, these matters would probably reach the doors of the Appellate jurisdiction of the High Court.
 

A notable feature is that appeals from the Registrar of Copyright shall lie to the Commercial Division of the High Court; whereas appeals from the Registrar of Trademarks, Controller of Patents, etc. would lie to the Appellate jurisdiction of the High Court.

 

Pending Matters and the Future:
 

1. A sunset clause has been added whereby matters pending with the Tribunals would be transferred to the High Court and the High Court can either continue with the matter from the stage at which it was pending or take up the matter de novo.
2. Further, the officials of these authorities immediately cease to held office; They are given 3 months salary and their term would stand terminated prematurely.
3. All matters shall stand transferred to the High Courts with immediate effect, though parties would have to take steps for effecting such transfer.
4. A total of over 3000 cases are pending with the IPAB at various stages. It remains to be seen whether the High Courts increase the number of judges to meet this new burden of cases.

 

Many within the IP community would call this move of the Government a retrograde step. However, such a situation is not new for the High Courts. They have dealt with similar situations in the past when other Tribunals such as SAT (State Administrative Tribunal) were abolished and the cases were transferred to the High Court. The High Court has taken these in its stride, and after created new benches to deal with such issues.
 

We fondly hope that this would be the case here also.
 

 

Rajeshwari Associates
 

For further information, please contact:
 

Rajeshwari Hariharan, Partner, Rajeshwari & Associates