Intellectual Property Appellate Board

Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) in India has undergone significant changes due to legislative amendments. Established under the provisions of the Trade Marks Act, 1999, and later given jurisdiction over patents, copyright, and geographical indications, the IPAB was an important tribunal for the adjudication of disputes related to intellectual property (IP) in India. It was designed to handle appeals against the decisions of the Registrar under the Trade Marks Act, 1999, the Patents Act, 1970, and the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, among others.

Functions of IPAB (Prior to Abolishment):

  1. Adjudication of Appeals:

The IPAB was the appellate body for decisions made by the Registrar under the Trade Marks Act, Patents Act, and Geographical Indications Act.

  1. Rectification and Revocation:

It could hear petitions for the rectification or revocation of trademarks and patents, ensuring that only deserving IP rights are maintained.

  1. Settlement of Disputes:

The board also played a role in settling disputes related to the infringement of IP rights, offering a specialized forum with expertise in IP law.

Abolishment and Transfer of Functions:

In 2021, the Government of India enacted the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalization and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021, which was later replaced by the Tribunals Reforms Act, 2021. This legislation abolished certain tribunals, including the IPAB, with the intent of streamlining dispute resolution and reducing the burden on the judiciary.

The functions previously performed by the IPAB, including hearing appeals and other proceedings related to intellectual property rights, were transferred to other judicial bodies. Specifically, the jurisdiction over matters previously handled by the IPAB was transferred to High Courts or Commercial Courts, depending on the legislation under which the original application was made.

Impact of the Transfer:

  1. High Courts:

Appeals, rectification, and revocation proceedings related to patents, trademarks, and geographical indications that would have gone to the IPAB are now directed to the High Courts. This has expanded the role of High Courts in IP dispute resolution.

  1. Commercial Courts:

In some jurisdictions, Commercial Courts, which were established to expedite the resolution of commercial disputes, including IP matters, may handle cases previously under the purview of the IPAB.

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