Revision of fees at Trademark Registry

Letters to the Editor: Karimullah Adeni
Published on: June 27, 2000 - DAWN, KARACHI

THE Trademark Registry is contemplating to raise its fee structure. On Friday, it announced new rates, then decided to suspend the raise till July 1, 2000, and by doing so made it clear that by the start of the next financial year, it would have come out with a gazette notification in this regard, a requirement of law as per section 84(2)m of the Trademarks Act, 1940.

Such a move is likely to shoo away a lot of non-serious trademark applicants leaving the field to only those who are genuine and have a serious desire to conduct business. At present, there are several applications/oppositions laying pending before the Trademarks Registry where the applying/opposing parties have approached the Registry only because they find it convenient to involve this IP office in a futile exercise. The new rates would ensure that only the serious parties with genuine interests remain in the field – if they too could afford to do so.

The new rates, as per a recent announcement, are a 1000 per cent jump from the existing rates. Normally any raise is made gradually. Such a big jump should take at least three steps. But perhaps, the Registry is in a hurry.

This means that the IP practitioners would have no time to inform their clients from all over the world. This also means that some of the parties with genuine interest would also think twice before applying for a trademark. Pakistani businessmen are already not much aware of the importance of intellectual property registration. Any increase would adversely affect the number of applicants.

Such a move, however, will turn the Registry into a revenue-generating institution. Now, the Registry would through a smaller number of transactions, be able to earn profit. The Registry, like any such office anywhere in the world, is a facilitator for the business community. That is the sole purpose of this office. If by some chance, it starts making good money, it should redirect that money into its service.

Today, the Trademark Registry is in desperate need of investment. The service is not computerized, the journal is not prompt, registration is delayed by years – in no way one can say that the office is functioning in a satisfactory manner. The credit for the fact that it is still functioning goes to the people who are working there. But they too would need some money to make their efforts visible on the end result.

The gradual raise in the fee structure is a good omen only if the money it generates is spent on alleviating the lot of the Trademark Registry. Any other use of that money would render the forthcoming action fruitless.