Justice Manmohan Singh Appointed Chairperson Of The Intellectual Property Appellate Board

Law gavel on white.

Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) is a tribunal that adjudicates appeals arising from decisions of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks (CGPDTM). The position of the Chairperson at the IPAB has been lying vacant since the retirement of the previous Chairperson Justice K M Basha in May 2016. Absence of a Chairperson, and the prevailing situation at the IPAB had resulted in substantial backlog, leading to the frustration among IP practitioners.

In this backdrop, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) had issued an advertisement on November 15, 2017, to fill vacant posts, particularly the posts of Vice-Chairman and Technical Members. The rules prescribed for such appointments have been embroiled in controversy, and we had expressed our views previously. Nonetheless, the Government of India has gone ahead and appointed Chairperson of the IPAB. However, we are not aware whether or not the rules mentioned earlier were applied for the appointment of the Chairperson.

The new Chairperson of the IPAB is retired judge of the Delhi High Court, Justice Manmohan Singh. Justice Manmohan Singh is currently Chairperson of the Appellate Tribunal for Forfeited Property (ATFP), and has been given additional charge of IPAB. Given the backlog at the IPAB, and the commitment required to dispose of pending matters, the dual responsibility given to the current Chairperson is a concern. Justice Singh is well known in the IP circuit, and has presided over several high-stake matters, including infringement litigation involving Ericsson and several India smartphone companies.

On behalf of Team InvnTree, we wish the new Chairperson the very best, and hope the appointment of the Chairperson is made in such a way that the appointment is not struck down in future as a result of the controversy mentioned earlier.

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