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Government plans on abolishing Intellectual Property Appellate Board

We missed this earlier: The government is planning to abolish the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB), SpicyIP reported. The government on February 13 introduced the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2021, which explains that “streamlining of tribunals is considered necessary as it would save considerable expense to the exchequer and at the same time, lead to speedy delivery of justice. Accordingly, it is proposed to abolish some more tribunals and transfer the jurisdiction exercised by them to the High Court.” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman did not mention the bill in her budget speech for 2020.

The explanation continues:

The tribunals that are proposed to be abolished in this phase are of the kind which handle cases in which public at large is not a litigant or those which neither take away any significant workload from High Courts which otherwise would have adjudicated such cases nor provide speedy disposal. Many cases do not achieve finality at the level of tribunals and are litigated further till High Courts and Supreme Court, especially those with significant implications. Therefore, these tribunals only add to another additional layer of litigation. (Source: Lok Sabha via SpicyIP)

Intellectual property lawyers have argued that the IPAB needs to be shut down because it cases have been stalled for three years, there are a a lack of expert members to hear cases, and the high costs for litigants who could only participate in hearings if they were able to travel to Delhi or Chennai. “Over the years, the DIPT itself has faced innumerable headaches in the form of multiple lawsuits over the independence of the IPAB, the lack of appointments and resources to the IPAB etc. It could save itself the trouble and shift the functions of the IPAB back to the High Court,” Advocate Prashant Reddy wrote.

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