IPAB lays rules for granting of interim orders
In a major judgement that has come as a respite to patent law practitioners in the country, the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) has asserted that it indeed had powers to grant interim orders on applications and has framed guidelines to be followed for issuing the same.
A bench comprising Chairperson Justice Prabha Sridevan, Vice Chairperson Usha and Technical Member D P S Parmar held in a related case that the tribunal was also vested to review its own orders. When the substantial questions of law — powers to grant interim orders and review petitions — came before the tribunal in two different cases, the matters were referred to a larger bench which called for submissions from eminent lawyers on the issue. According to those who argued that the board had no powers to grant interim orders in applications, interim orders would be tantamount to granting final relief and would lead to a chain of issue for those whose patents and trademarks have been adversely affected by the stay.
Referring to Section 95 of Trademarks Act, which talks about interim orders, the argument was put forth that Parliament had deliberately excluded the word ‘application’ in provisions as powers to grant the interim relief in applications was not envisaged. “The owner of a mark has several rights for renewal, assignment and transmission. If registration (of trademark/patent) is stayed, who will pay the renewal fee and can it be assigned or transmitted,” those against interim stays argued.
Those who argued in favour of interim orders said there was nothing in the law that excluded such a power.
“When the power of the High Court was vested in the IPAB, it did not change. Unless it is specifically taken away, IPAB must be held to have such powers,” they said. Passing orders, the bench said if the IPAB was deemed to have no powers to give interim relief, it would result in the collapse of the purpose for which it was created.
Therefore, a set of guidelines was framed for issuing such orders.