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Seven years and still no facilities for IPAB Circuit Benches

The Centre is yet to provide proper sitting and accommodation facilities to the Circuit Benches of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. The Board’s headquarters is in Chennai.

The Board adjudicates cases relating to trademarks and patents. Since parties before the Board also consist of international business companies, some of the decisions relating to patents have international ramifications.

Though the IPAB conducts hearings at four other places — Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Ahmedabad — besides Chennai, the government has not provided any accommodation for the regular sitting of the Board or for the Chairman or Vice-Chairman. Nor is there a provision of regular living quarters for the members and the staff.

Vice-Chairperson of the Board S. Usha recently wrote to the Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Commerce Ministry, explaining the difficulties faced by the three Circuit Benches in finding conference halls and rooms for lawyers.

Controller-General’s missive

She took exception to a communication received from the Controller-General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks, Mumbai, in which he had declined to provide even the small hearing room in the Patent Office for holding Circuit Bench sittings after April 2010.

Ms. Usha said: “As you are very much aware of the fact, the CGPDTM and the officials serving under him are subject to the judicial powers of the IPAB as their orders are appelable to the IPAB and as such while exercising the judicial power of the review of their orders, the IPAB is the appellante authority. When that be the position, we are at a loss to know as to how the CGPDTM can send a letter of this nature.

At others’ mercy

“It is really a sad state of affairs that the IPAB, that is the Chairman, the Vice-Chairman and the technical members are at the mercy of the CGPDTM or any other official of the Patent and Trademarks office for accommodation for the sitting of the IPAB. It is rather unfortunate that the Appellate Board, of international level importance in respect of the most sought-after subject, intellectual property, is placed in such a pathetic position.”

She requested the Secretary to look into the matter and issue necessary instructions to the CGPDTM to provide accommodation, especially a conference room for the Circuit Bench sittings in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.

Lawyers feel the government machinery should provide the basic facilities for the effective functioning of the visiting Circuit Benches of the IPAB.

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Printable version | Aug 2, 2020 6:07:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Seven-years-and-still-no-facilities-for-IPAB-Circuit-Benches/article16814239.ece

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