Read Judgment: Pawandeep Singh vs. Registrar of Trademarks & Another 

Pankaj Bajpai

New Delhi, March 29, 2022: Observing that the refusal of a trade mark without even affording a hearing would be contrary to the fundamental tenets of natural justice, the Delhi High Court has asked the Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks to device a proper mechanism for holding show cause hearings by including certain features.

Finding that the hearing was not held and the application was refused by wrongly recording that a hearing had been granted, the Single Judge Pratibha Singh observed that there is a need to alter the current mode and manner of holding hearings from publishing monthly cause lists to publishing daily cause lists with proper serial numbers, giving open links to Counsels/Applicants individually or publishing the same on the Trade Mark Registry website and by moving to a platform which would permit more individuals to join the hearings simultaneously at a time.

The observation came pursuant to a petition filed with a grievance that the trademark application of Pawandeep Singh (Petitioner) in Class – 17 for the registration of the mark ‘SWISS’ had been refused without even affording a hearing to him. The case of the Petitioner was that two notices for hearing were given to him, and even though the agent for the Petitioner logged in for the hearing, the official concerned did not log in, on both the occasions. 

After considering the submissions, Justice Singh found that the orders which were passed by the Registrar of Trademarks dealt with precious rights relating to the trademarks of individuals and businesses. 

The Trade Mark Registry deals with lakhs of applications every year and therefore, the utilisation of a platform for virtual conference hearing wherein only three individuals are permitted to join at a time, would be grossly insufficient and an outdated mode of holding hearings, added the Single Judge. 

Justice Singh further noted that the office of the Registrar of Trademarks should encourage and move towards having a much more transparent system of hearings in the presence of Agents/ Lawyers/ Applicants who may be permitted to join through an open link. 

The hearings can also be held by publishing daily cause lists with a serial number for the applications being taken up and allotting at least two-hour slots where the open link is made available on the website of the Trade Mark Registry, added the Single Judge. 

Therefore, Lawyers/Applicants/Agents ought to be permitted to appear through the open link and make submissions before the Examiner so long as they do it in an orderly manner without disturbing the hearings being held, added the Court. 

The High Court therefore held that the office of the Registrar of Trade Marks, shall afford a proper hearing to the Applicant and pass orders in accordance with law. The date of hearing shall be communicated to the Applicant through email by the Examiner.

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