Trademarks Act: apex court dismisses govt appeal
Government had appealed against Madras HC declaring many key provisions in the Trademarks Act unconstitutional
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the government’s appeal against a March verdict by the Madras high court that declared several key provisions in the Trademarks Act as unconstitutional.
Ruling on a public interest litigation filed by Shamnad Basheer, founder of the SpicyIP (intellectual property) blog, the high court struck down several key provisions of the Trademarks Act, 1999, which established the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB).
The Madras high court ruling struck down provisions on the appointment of judicial and technical members of IPAB. Under the court’s ruling, a very small pool of government officials would now be eligible for appointment as technical members to adjudicate on trademark matters, giving primacy to the legal nature of the tribunal.
Questioning the relevance of IPAB in effectively deciding matters, Basheer said a number of IPAB rulings do not necessarily reflect outstanding IP expertise or competence.
“The high courts often do a far better job when these cases go in appeal. The two major reasons for creating a tribunal such as the IPAB was to bring in specialist expertise and reduce pendency at the high courts, which will have to be relooked now,” he said when.
Saikrishna Rajagopal, mananging director of Saikrishna and Associates, said an amendment in the Trademarks Act is the way forward. “The government must now look at policy change in the matter that will pass the test of consitutionality,” he said.
IPAB did not reply to an email from Mint seeking response.
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