Delhi High Court Stays Notice Passed by the Controller General of Patent, Design and Trademarks of Extending Limitation to 01 June 2020

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The petition is filed in the backdrop of the notices issued by the CGPDTM. The petitioner contends that it is against the orders passed by the Supreme Court.

Prayer of the Petitioner

The petitioner has made the following prayer-

  1. To quash the Public Notice dated 18.05.2020.
  2. Direct the respondent no. 1 to issue a clarificatory Public Notice for all IP Statutes.

Arguments of the Petitioner

The Learned Senior Counsel appearing on behalf of petitioners submitted that the Supreme Court took suo moto cognizance of the adverse situation arising out of the pandemic which has led to difficulties in filing petitions, applications, etc. within the period of limitations, prescribed under the various statutes.

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On March 23, 2020, the Supreme Court extended the limitation period prescribed under General Law or Special Law. This order is in effect from March 15, 2020, till further orders passed by the Supreme Court. The counsel pointed out that the petition is filed to challenge the Public Notices issued by respondent no. 1.

The notices pertained to the limitation period and extension of timelines about filings under IP Statues. Respondent no.1 had notified that all due dates of timelines prescribed under different IP Acts and Rules, for filing of any document, payment of fees, etc. would be 18.05.2020. He also submitted that despite the order of the Supreme Court and this Court, respondent no. 1 has issued a notice, whereby, deadlines falling between 15.03.2020 and 17.05.2020 have been extended to 01.06.2020. The deadlines from 18.05.2020 and onwards have not been extended.

He argued that the notice violates the directions issued by the Supreme Court on 23.03.2020 and this Court on 11.05.2020. He also stated that the working of a skeletal staff in IP Offices does not lead to a conclusion that the lockdown has ended.

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Respondent no. 1, has put the Litigants and the Attorneys in a jeopardy by forcing them to move out of their houses by not extending the timelines expiring on 18.05.2020. He submitted that even the extension of limitation to 01.06.2020 is placing an enormous burden as the window is too narrow.

Arguments of the Respondent

The counsel appearing on behalf of the respondents contend that reliance on the order of the Supreme Court on 06.05.2020 is wholly misplaced. He said that the order was passed only in the context of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 and the Negotiable Instruments Act. The counsel submitted that petitions under Sub-Rule (6) of Rule 6 of Patents Rules have been provisioned through e-filing mode. He stated that it was also notified that delay in transmitting or re-submitting documents to the patent office may be condoned.

Observation of the Court

Supreme Court passed an order on March 23, 2020, extending the limitation prescribed under the General Law or the Special Law. The Supreme Court to obviate any difficulties and to ensure that litigants do not have to come, the Court ordered that a period of limitation irrespective of the limitation under the general law or Special Laws to be extended from March 15, 2020, till further orders. The Court noted that it is not open to any Court, Tribunal, or authority to impose timelines on the Limitation period. The order of the Supreme Court is as much binding on respondent no.1 as on any other Court or Tribunal.

The court remarked that it did not understand what prompted respondent no.1 to issue the notice after the order dated 23.03.2020 as also order dated 11.05.2020 passed by this Court suspending the operation of its earlier notice dated 04.05.2020, issued on similar lines.

Court’s Decision

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Justice Jyoti Singh heard the matter through video conferencing. The Court ordered to suspend the operation of the Public Notice dated 18.05.2020 and 20.05.2020 until further orders from this Court. The matter is listed for hearing on June 17, 2020.


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