India: Best Practices to adopt for a Robust Intellectual Property Portfolio during COVID-19


During the current Covid-19 pandemic, businesses and corporations of all sizes – particularly start-ups and budding entrepreneurs, are being pushed to their limits. Even such routine tasks such as paying rent and employees on time have proved to be game changers and given us a chance to examine the way we function, process and plan our business models so that everyday operations are not interrupted. India’s government and some intellectual property (IP) forums have taken some regulatory measures in addition to operating in an online tech-based environment to ease pressure to ensure that mechanisms in place run smoothly. Nevertheless, a business still needs to undertake much ‘behind the scenes’ IP portfolio management work to help them more than just survive, but thrive in these challenging times. The mantra is to be pragmatic, strategic and efficient in managing a portfolio.

Strategies to consider

The following are some of the strategies to consider when managing your company’s IP portfolio during these lean times:

Be aware of what’s happening in the world

The current pandemic has affected the functioning of all major trademark, copyright, design and patent offices worldwide. Some offices are in a complete state of lockdown and deferring filings, physical hearings and other procedural compliances. Others, including India, have adopted a somewhat hybrid structure regarding application filing, hearings, attending to procedural compliances to even demarcating the applications to be heard and within specified timelines. Consequently, businesses which anticipate filing their trademark or patent application internationally should consult their local lawyers to be notified of the different rules which are changing around the world, in order to protect their IP rights globally. The practice of virtual hearings have become the new norm at the India’s Trademarks Registry[1] and some of the high courts in major cities, something that other offices in the world could seamlessly adopt. Lawyers are acclimatising to a paradigm shift and nuanced approach required in conducting online advocacy that is being instilled and polished with every hearing.

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