Lost in Relocation? No More: Long Arm of Trade Mark Registry hunts down Missing Applications

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Some of the readers may already be aware of the negative publicity that the Trade Marks Registry had got back in April, 2011, when it had been discovered that a number of registered trade mark files had gone missing from the archives of the Registry Offices at Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Ahmedabad. The matter had been revealed in a proceeding before Justice Murlidhar of the Delhi High Court, when the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) had filed an affidavit, stating on oath the number of missing files ranging to an astonishing 44,000!

However, in an optimistic turn of events, the office of the Controller of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks has issued a notice on July 28, 2011 wherein it has been revealed that at present, the total number of missing files from all the 5 offices is a mere 0.99% of the total number of registered files. This takes into account the files that have been traced since April (more than 12000), the ones that have been reconstituted through input from registered proprietors (more than 6000), as well as the files of those marks that have been removed since owing to non-renewal (more than 9000).

The total number of registered files is at present 829109 (Mumbai: 285704, Delhi: 274592, Chennai: 120766, Kolkata: 87968 and Ahmedabad: 60079), while the total number of missing physical files as on July 28, 2011 was 8183 (Mumbai: 1251, Delhi: 1875, Chennai: 4688, Kolkata: 287 and Ahmedabad: 82), which brings the missing percentage approximately to the abovementioned 0.99% (Mumbai: 0.44, Delhi: 0.69, Chennai: 3.89, Kolkata: 0.32 and Ahmedabad: 0.13). Even in respect of the missing files, the critical information affecting the rights of the registered proprietors have been able to be reconstructed according to the Delhi High Court’s directions, as per the claims voiced by the said notice. The last date for submission of documents available with the proprietor/agent has also been extended up to October 31, 2011.

The misplacement of files, as per the DIPP affidavit, had taken place during the decentralization of the Registry offices from Mumbai. While that was indeed a considerable embarrassment for the Trade Mark Registry, one must commend the authority figures and the personnel responsible to have achieved such a turnaround within such a short time period, especially the reconstitution of records, which one feels must have been quite a mammoth task. It only goes on to show that the personnel involved are indeed capable of attaining high degree of efficiency if they put their mind to it and raises our expectations accordingly. The DIPP and the Controller had also promised the Delhi High Court of implementation of a scientific record keeping scheme, quarterly audits of all the files stored in the different trademark registries, reduction of scope of such recurrence by introducing the mandatory e-filing of trademark applications.


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6 thoughts on “Lost in Relocation? No More: Long Arm of Trade Mark Registry hunts down Missing Applications”

  1. These files have not gone missing from TM offices all over India during decentralization of the Registry offices from Mumbai but definitely these files have been removed from desk of the officials by interested persons other intriguing aspect is this the TM registry or DIPP failed to identify files long time rather till then the petition of missing file was filed in the High Court of Delhi to locate its where about, so how the pandora box of missing files was opened so this was only due to intervention of the court and not the officials have found this missing records on their own.

    Other major aspect is that how TM office is able to reconstruct thousands of files in few months, which they did not for years is that they are missing. it means TM registry has been accepted the records on face of it without even conducting scrutiny of the records what has been submitted by the parties.

    I am hundred percent sure there is another scam, which is offing in near future, when people will start scrutinizing this records.

    As you have claimed in your post of degree of efficiency of TM staff, I would like to remind the writer of this post that it is not the efficiency but it was necessity on their part to complete the record and I am surprised the they have compiled quasi judicial records of the thousands of files with in few months i.e. 2 months shows that TM office as well as DIPP interested in saving the skin of the delinquent officers who were involved in missing files and want to hush up this matter without conducting inquiry or penalty on the officers.

    One thing is clear you can not make getaway your staff without conducting inquiry, causes of missing files and or penalty. This is not a simple issue of missing of one file but thousands in numbers. As so much government exchequers has been used in restoring missing files. DIPP or TM Office has to initiate inquiry and further has to identify cause and peoples involved in it and the officers who were keeping their eyes shut despite of knowing of missing files
    from office.

  2. @IPvocal: If you’ve any proof or even suspicion that can be substantiated regarding the exact manner in which those files had got missing, then by all means let us know and we can highlight the same. Indeed, when the files had gone missing, we’d covered that too in one of our posts. I’ve only mentioned what had been claimed in DIPP’s affidavit, not my personal opinion regarding the mode of misplacement. Regarding my ‘claim’ of TM staff efficiency, it doesn’t exactly matter why they did it, whether to ‘save their own skin’, as you’ve put it so adroitly, or otherwise. But so long as they have done it, it means they are capable of doing it, which is what prompted my comment of raising expectations in the first place. I agree with you entirely about the necessity of enquiries, but necessity doesn’t necessarily preclude efficiency 🙂

  3. 44k of trademark files missing over a period of 50 years and its merely 0.99% of total files.is it neccessary to make such a hue and cry in this matter?.if all Govt offices including courts do their inventory, they will come to know that more than 1% of their files are missing. I personally feel such type of inventory should take place in all govt offices including courts. As a Patent attorney I know in many occassions the files of Patents were missing, compared to trademarks the patents files are more important, hence, an inventory in respect of patent files also required. I have noticed in this blog that most of the criticism goes to poor Trade mark officials whereas the PATENT officials are spared.
    The Trade marks registry is receiving more than 2 lakh files every year.The office of the trade mark registry has shifted their files to many godowns due to the lack of space.The new offices of the Trade mark registry constructed 5 years before only.No one ever bothered how the trademarks registry was functioning in the past several years and even today the Govt, not bothered to make proper appointments in this office.Many senior officers will retire shortly and the juniors are not getting promotion due to some redtapism or lack of decision capacity on the part of Government.

  4. Mr. Anonymous Officer, do you think the way you reduced the number of missing files from 44k to 8183 avioding the 9000 files on the reason that removed for non removal of the marks, are genuine. Are you sure all these 9000 marks Trade Marks Registry removed for the good reasons. Ever you counted the number of Interlocutory Petitions filed in this regard.

  5. 0.99%(8183) of missing files in trademarks registry are negligable considering the fact that there was a fire broke out in the year 2009 at Mumbai and many files were destroyed and probably the missing files are some of them.
    Trademarks registry have done a tremendous good job by reconstructing the 44000 files in such a short period and it shows that They require some kind of direction from the hon”ble court from time to time to correct the registry.

  6. If I understand correctly, the files have gone missing due to no fault of the applicants or their agents – in such a case can the TMR infact put a deadline for submission of documents for reconstruction of such “missing files”?

    If a registrant/ applicant approaches then post October 31, 2011 can they refuse to reconstruct such file(s)?

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