Trademark law of India is passing through an interesting and developmental phase. Recently Samsung has raised the issue of international exhaustion of a trademark under Indian trademark law. Similarly, trademarks registrations in India have also increased as India is becoming a favourite destination for commercial activities world over.
Trademark registration in India is regulated by the Trademarks Act 1999 of India. A registered trademark is valid for a period of 10 years that can be renewed for another 10 years at a time. Further, international registration of trademarks under Madrid Agreement and Madrid Protocol can also be explored by applicants. However, the Madrid Agreement and Madrid Protocol and its applicability and implementation in India are still in a flux.
There may be cases where a trademark holder fails to renew his/her/its trademark in time. Renewal of an expired trademark is the only option left in such cases. In India even if the mark has been expired, one can apply for its re-registration. If someone else applies for registration of expired trademark as per the prescribed procedure, owner of expired trademark can file objections at the registry, tribunal or appropriate forum.
In United States (US), to keep the registration alive or valid for all trademarks registrations, except for non Madrid Protocol based registrations, the registration owner must file specific documents and pay fees at regular intervals. Failure to file these documents will result in the cancellation of his/her/its registration.
For Madrid Protocol Based Registration, after the protection is granted to the international registration and a U.S. registration issues, to keep protection in the U.S., the U.S. registration owner must file specific documents and pay fees at regular intervals. Failure to file these documents will result in the cancellation of his/her/its U.S. registration and the invalidation of protection of the international registration by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Under Section 8 of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1058, a §8 Declaration of Continued Use is required to be given by the trademark owner. The Declaration is a sworn statement, filed by the owner of a registration that the mark is in use in commerce. If the owner is claiming excusable nonuse of the mark, a §8 Declaration of Excusable Nonuse may be filed. The purpose of the §8 Declaration is to remove marks no longer in use from the register.
The USPTO will cancel any registration on either the Principal Register or the Supplemental Register if a timely §8 Declaration is not filed by the current owner of the registration during the prescribed time periods. The USPTO has no authority to waive or extend the deadline for filing a proper §8 Declaration. Registrations finally cancelled after the expiry of permissible period due to the failure to file a §8 Declaration cannot be reinstated or revived. A new application to pursue registration of the mark again must be filed.
Holders (owners) of registered extensions of protection to the U.S. (also called §66(a) registrations, registrations resulting from 79’ series applications, international registrations extended to the U.S.) who wish to maintain the protection granted their mark in the U.S. pursuant to the Madrid Protocol must file an affidavit or declaration of use in commerce or excusable nonuse to avoid cancellation of protection in U.S. Such affidavits are required pursuant to Section 71, 15 U.S.C. §1141k, of the Trademark Act. The USPTO has no authority to waive or extend the deadline for filing a proper §71 Declaration. Registrations finally cancelled after the expiry of permissible period due to the failure to file a §71 Declaration cannot be reinstated or revived. A new application to pursue registration of the mark again must be filed.
The holder of a registered extension of protection of an international registration to the U.S. must file an application for renewal of the international registration with the International Bureau (IB). Renewal of international registrations is governed by Article 7 of the Madrid Protocol and Rules 29 - 31 of the Common Regulations under the Madrid Agreement and Protocol.
A renewal can be filed during the six months before expiry of the period of protection or in the six months following the expiry of the current period of protection with the payment of a surcharge.
The term of an international registration is ten years, and it may be renewed for ten years upon payment of the renewal fee.
Perry4Law hope this information would be useful to all concerned stakeholders.