The question of interpretation of law to ensure that no
miscarriage of justice ensues from the verdict has been up for
consideration of the courts on many an occasion. In the sphere
of intellectual property rights enforcement, the interests in
substantive law are to be subserved in tandem with the
procedural requirements. One such area in Trademarks Law is the
discretion of Registrar to award extension of time for filing
of evidence in support of the opposition under Section 131 of
Trademarks Act and Rule 50(2) of Trademark Rules. The courts
have time and again upheld the existence of such discretion to
be exercised on just and equitable grounds. As against this, if
there exists no essence in the grounds on which the extension
is sought, the Registrar may well refuse time.
In Krishna Oil Industries v. Asst Registrar of
Trademarks and Anr, 2008 (37) PTC 162 (IPAB), the
appellants filed an opposition against the registration of the
trademark 'EKKA' in respect of edible oil by
the respondent. The registrar directed the appellants to file
evidence in support of the opposition, for which the latter
asked for extension of six months, which was granted. Repeated
requests for extension of time were made, totaling the
extension period to a year and a half. The evidenced was filed
past the period granted and no application for further
extension of time was made. Hence, the Assistant Registrar
treated the opposition as abandoned under Rule 50 (2), against
which appellants preferred an appeal in IPAB.
The appellants contended that the registrar had erred in his
judgment and that he had discretion to provide more time, while
the second respondent contended suppression of facts of change
about ownership of the partnership firm on the part of
respondents. They also showed prior use of the trademark.
The IPAB held that the request for extension of time citing
reasons is mandatory in case evidence could not be filed in the
specified period. "Holding sub-rule (2) of Rule 50 to be
directory does not take away the powers of the Assistant
Registrar to refuse extension of time in a given case when he
finds that there is no substance in the grounds on which the
extension of time is sought for." The Assistant Registrar
has, in fact granted time and the same was communicated to the
appellant, but the appellant did not, without any notice or
reason for further delay, file the evidence in the time so
provided. The appellant was at fault himself and could not
expect the Assistant Registrar to condone the delay without any
sufficient reason attributed to the delay. There was found to
be no infirmity in the orders of the Assistant Registrar as he
had granted sufficient indulgence by the Registrar, the appeal
was accordingly dismissed without any costs.
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