Haldiram India Pvt. Ltd v Union of India and Anr, is a
recent case where it was revealed that the Trademark Registry had
misplaced over 44,000 files.
In the midst of an ongoing dispute, between Haldiram India
(Petitioner) and the family of Kamla Devi Aggarwal/ Rameshwar Lal
Aggarwal, the Petitioner requested certified copies of six
documents from the Trademark Registry (TMR) who in turn informed
the Petitioner that the said documents were not traceable. It was
under the cloud of such doubts that the said documents had been
deliberately misplaced or concealed by some officers of the TMR in
collusion with the opposing party, that the petitioner filed the
present application before the High Court of Delhi seeking a
direction to the TMR to give them an inspection of the above
The Court directed the TMR to file an affidavit stating the
efforts made to trace the missing files and status of each of the
files where inspection was sought. The affidavit filed by the
registry stated that the loss of the files could be attributed to
the decentralization of the Registry. However, the Court was highly
dissatisfied with this explanation and vide order dated
16th December, 2010, it directed that the matter ought
to be examined at the level of the Secretary, Department of
Industries, Government of India to indicate whether only the files
in question were missing or documents relating to other cases were
also missing; the corrective measure adopted by the Trademark
Registry including but not limited to filing FIRs and the procedure
to be followed for the purpose of reconstruction of missing
Subsequently, a compliance affidavit was submitted which stated,
among other things the before mentioned reason for the loss of
files i.e. decentralization. A meeting to review the steps taken to
comply with the Court's order of December 2010 concluded that
the main reason for such irregularity was the absence of an
effective digital record keeping system as well as the lack of due
diligence by the TMR staff. The Controller General of Patents,
Design and Trademarks (CGPDTM) was directed to follow certain
procedures to counter any suspected mala fides.
The Registry's proposed corrective action was submitted as
In house verification of all files that have been digitized
shall be undertaken and placed in the public domain within six
Records of old registered files to be uploaded in the main
server and linked with corresponding electronic record within three
Complete records of all trademarks have been made public on the
registry website so that any discrepancy can be brought to the
After completion of the above, the registry would issue a
public notice requesting right holders of unaccounted files to
produce the necessary documents to enable reconstituted
amendment/updation of records.
A new IT policy has been provided for on the official site of
the IPO and the Registrar proposes to completely digitize the
complete IP records by 31st March 2012,
Additionally, it was stated that a professional service
provider, as a consultant to make a detailed assessment of the
record management system was engaged; a final report would be
submitted on 31/05/11 and further action was to be based on the
said report. Further, a quarterly audit of the trademark records
was to be directly monitored by the registrar. The record in
charge, in every three months and the head of the Office in every
six months would undertake a physical audit of the files in the
record room. The record in charge would take necessary steps to
build the missing files "based on the digital data available
on the system, journals, publications and wherever possible,
requisitioning it from the registered proprietor." It was also
proposed that the trademark rules would be amended and for online
filing of applications would be provided for, thus ensuring minimal
chances of a data theft or damage.
The Court, dismissing the writ petition directed that the said
measures were to be strictly implemented. Where a file is not
traceable or is possibly misplaced, departmental action should be
taken to fix the responsibility of negligence and where mala fide
is prima facie established, an FIR should also be lodged. The
question of whether these proposed corrective measures are
implemented, will be answered only in the due passage of time.
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