The Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB), the appellate tribunal for patents and trademark dispute in the country, will get a permanent office and related facilities in Kovalam, near Chennai. This comes as a breather to the tribunal, which has earlier complained on various hurdles including inadequacy in human resources, the lack of suitable infrastructure and lack of sufficient funds for its operations.
Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry E M Sudarsana Natchiappan has announced on Wednesday that the Centre is planning to allot a 7-acre plot in Kovalam beach, near Chennai, to set up the board with digitalised communication network connecting other IP-related authorities, library and other amenities. The government will spend Rs 35 crore for this of which Rs 15 crore will be spent in the initial stage.
The decision was taken after consulting various advocates and the officials in IPAB. The patent issues are increasing with the multi national companies, more so with pharmaceutical companies, are involved in litigation.
"Therefore we want to create a reputation that India is having all required infrastructure. Gradually, we will build up that. Currently, in seven acres, we will come up with the office with all the facilities, library and digitalised system of communication," said the minister on Wednesday.
The property is presently with the Salt Corporation, which is also under the portfolio of Natchiappan and it would be taken over by the IPAB and the works for the new building would be started by the end of December, this year or the first week of January, 2014. The works would be on a fast track and is expected to complete within one year from its initiation, he added.
Similarly, the government has also taken steps to fill the vacancies in the tribunal. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has called for applications and the applications has been scrutinised. The vacancies will be filled up with the procedures completed, said the minister.
The board, which has completed 10th year of existence in 2012, has earlier complained lack of a suitable infrastructure for the board both at the headquarters and at some of the Circuit Sittings in its report to the Madras High Court and in its annual report for 2012-13.
The lack of infrastructure and manpower were also discussed earlier in a report filed by Chairman of IPAB Justice Prabha Sridevan, in connection with a litigation filed by IP expert Shamnad Basheer. The board also conducts circuit sittings in various cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkatta and Ahmedabad, besides the sittings in its headquarters in Chennai.
However, the government has recently approved a proposal to take a little more space temperarily in the present premises of the board in order to address the issue of the lack of space.
According to the annual report of IPAB in 2012-13, the disposals during the year was a total of 362 cases, including 310 trademark matters and 52 patent matters, and the filing has been steadily growing on the original and appellate jurisdiction. The board, which entered into its 10th year of existence in 2012, has disposed 390 cases including 344 trademark cases and 46 patent cases during 2011-12.