SpicyIP Tidbit: TM search free; application fees up

The Trademarks Registry is acting on its promises this 2011, with the trademark search engine officially going free.

At the same time, the application fees to register a trade mark in one class has gone up from Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,500. The revision takes effect from 29 December 2010. (Image from here.)

(Readers will recall previous discussions we have had on the impending changes at the Registry, including here and here.)

The notification in the Gazette of India confirming the free search and the revised application fees appeared on 29 December 2010, which you can read here. The Controller General issued a follow-up public notice to the same earlier today, which you can read here.

According to this notice, anyone can now access the search facility at the IPO website at zero cost. Also, TM applications made on or after 29 December 2010 will need to be made with the revised fees of Rs 3,500. Any extra/revised payments will need to be made before 30 January 2011, according to this notice.

SpicyIP would like to thank its readers Karthik Murthy and Chetan Chadha, for keeping us on the ball with this news. Karthik also gleefully informs us that “the free search is on:-) “.

I just checked out the search engine platform, which you can too, here, and the interface has changed slightly from what it used to be previously, when accessed with a code. It’s cleaner, and AND/OR options have been introduced, opening up a variety of search options to users. It would be great to receive feedback from those who’ve actually tried the engine on how it works.

Equally, it will be interesting to hear feedback from users about the revised application fees, whether it affects business (at all?), and so on. I personally believe that while the percentage increase in fees is substantial (40 %), the fees being charged by the Indian TM Registry is relatively low in comparison with many other jurisdictions.

In any event, the Trademarks Registry, the Intellectual Property Offices and the Controller General deserve a standing ovation for pushing these amendments through, and delivering on their promises in record time. We hope this is only a teaser, and is a sign of improvements to come!


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4 thoughts on “SpicyIP Tidbit: TM search free; application fees up”

  1. Mr. Kurian and team needs to be applauded for this measure but as I person in the trademark practice I certainly feel that this measure of Kurian will turn out to be nightmare for advocates and applicants. The reason for this is the non-updation of Trade Marks Registry. The people in industry will agree with me that more than 25% of the details of the marks registered or pending are missing from the records from the Registrar. Owing to this fact it burden of correctness of search is shifted to Applicants/ advocates who no longer can take the plea the mark was available when I searched for it. Today the first day when search was made free the TMR website is not functioning, even the e-register are taking hours to provide the status of an application. Hope that things will improve in coming days. I would like to request through this forum to Mr. Kurian to immediately take steps to correct/ update the Registrar’s database as then only the benefits of making search free can be really enjoyed by the applicants or else they would be soon landing in courts for adoption of earlier marks due to the fault of Registrar

  2. Jyoti Ganeshshankar

    I would like to know whether the Registry is planning on refunding the search fee they have charged from the applicants who have applied for registration between 29.12.10 to 12.1.11?

    If the Registry is introducing a fee structure change and giving it retrospective effect it is only just that the fee refund earned by the applicant solely based on this retrospective law is also respected and implemented along with the law.

  3. Hi all, thanks a ton for your comments:

    #Anonymous: Agreed entirely. Having a free, or even not-free, search engine, is entirely useless if the data is incorrect or not properly verified. This is something the Intellectual Property Office needs to amend with immediate effect. At best, I suppose, those using the search facility can take solace in the fact that now they don’t need to pay to get wrong data! The slowness of the engine is another factor which can be incredibly frustrating. I’m personally willing to give some license to the IPO on this front – perhaps they are transitioning to a heavy-duty server?

    #Rajamallaiah Cirumalla and Jyoti Ganeshshankar: I think the IPO/CG is fairly clear in its public notice that it is only the revised application fees that takes retrospective effect; and not the free search facility. That said, you are correct in that the IPO should have issued better warning about the formal dates of the changes, rather than springing upon us an update all of a sudden.

  4. Rajamallaiah Cirumalla, Trademark Attorney, sends us this comment, which I reproduce with his permission:

    “Though we welcome the news it is disheartening to know its restrospective effect from 29th December, 2010 whereby charges of Rs.500/- per class per mark already paid for official search report vide from TM 54 are waste now and further the applicants are put to hardships of paying another 1000 rupees for no fault.

    Ideally such revision must be with an advance notice of considerable period of minium SEVEN WORKING DAYs.
    Contrary to such notification for discontinuance of services under Rule 24 the requests on from TM 54 were being accepted along with the fee of 500 rupees
    now again same applicants are made to pay balance amount of 1000/- rupees with free access to public search given from TODAY whereby such applicants are put to additional burden of 500 rupees.

    I honestly propose to send a representation through SPICY IP that the retrospective effect of the notice must be recalled / cancelled in view of giving free access with effect from today and further in view that the registry has accepted requestes on form TM 54 along with fee of 500 rupees.”

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