Functioning Of The IPAB During COVID-19
On 6th May 2020, The Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) released an Office Order F. No 18013/4/2017-IPAB-Pt. The Office order contained important information about the functioning of the IPAB during these trying times. Thereafter, on 7th May 2020 the chairman of the IPAB, Justice (Retd.) Mr. Manmohan Singh presided over a zoom call wherein the office order was discussed. Justice Singh addressed several key issues in the zoom call which was attended by Intellectual Property Attorneys and Advocates from all over the country. The key take-aways from the zoom meeting as well as office order are as under:
- Functioning of the board: The Chairman and the Hon’ble Members of the IPAB will attend the office with 100% attendance. The remaining officers and staff will attend the office with an attendance of 33% strength physically on a rotational basis.
- Availability: The entire staff shall be available via phone and e-mail.
- Which matters will be taken up: Justice Singh stated that once the board resumes functioning, for the first fifteen (15) days on ‘urgent matters’ will be taken up. “Matters where stay is involved, some interim orders are required”, will be classified as urgent matters as stated by Justice Singh.
- How will the hearings be conducted: The hearings will be conducted without physical presence of the parties or their respective advocates, instead, the hearings will be conducted by video conferencing only, provided that counsels of both the parties are agreeable to the same.
- Duration of the hearing: Justice Singh stated that 10-15 minutes will be allotted for each hearing.
- Communication & Notification: Urgent mentioning, adjournments etc. shall be requested by sending an email to the registered email address of the Office which is firstname.lastname@example.org. All other communications and notifications such as listing of cases, filing of documents, submissions shall be done through this email address only.
- Hearing of urgent matters: The hearing of urgent matters will be taken up by Whatsapp video call or conference call by contacting the Deputy Registrar, IPAB. The same has to communicated by sending an email to the registered e-mail address of the IPAB. Hearing of urgent matters can also be conducted by telephone-conference as well.
- Circulars/Hearing schedule: The hearing schedule as well as any other circulars or notices will be uploaded on the IPAB website.
- Miscellaneous information: Matters will not be dismissed if the counsels are not present (keeping in view the current scenario) and the matter will be simply adjourned, or fresh notice will be issued. Justice Singh also assured that he and his team and staff will be available “24 hours”, in case of severe urgency.
- Order of hearing: In the Month of May-June 2020, matters which were originally scheduled for hearing in March and April 2020 will be taken up with a priority given to urgent matters.
Before parting, Justice Singh assured all lawyers and practitioners that he and his team as well as the entire staff at IPAB are there to support the lawyers as well as the parties in case they require any assistance during these trying times and hearing of matters via video conferences shall begin next week.