Registrar to decide TM amendment applications on case by case basis: DHC

In a very important ruling concerning amendment of trademark applications, the Delhi High Court ruled that the Registrar of trademarks shall decide the applications for amendment on a case by case basis and struck down the office order by Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks that made certain amendments not permissible.

Holding that the powers vested in the Registrar of Trademarks are quasi-judicial in nature, the Court said that Trademarks Act confers on the Registrar of Trademarks the power to permit the correction of ‘any error’ in or in connection with the application or permit an amendment of the application and the Controller General by a general order in the nature of a guideline cannot direct as to which of such amendments shall not be allowed.

“Registrar of Trademarks under the TM Act has been conferred with certain statutory powers and which have been found by us to be adjudicatory in nature. The said powers are to be exercised by the Registrar. The Controller General, even if superior in hierarchy to the Registrar, has no statutory role to play in the matter of registration of trademark as provided in the Act and if any decision were to be taken by the Registrar of Trademarks at the behest of or on suggestion or on command of Controller General as the impugned Clause 3 supra purports to do, the same would be patently illegal”, the Court reasoned.

The Court further said, “When the Registrar, in the matter of decision of such opposition exercises adjudicatory function, it is not possible to hold that the Registrar, while deciding an application for amendment of the application for registration, and in deciding which also it is required to hear the person making the opposition to the application, does not perform adjudicatory functions.”

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