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It is a known fact that a trademark registration stands legal and valid for a term of 10 years. Thereafter, it is usually renewed periodically for another term, time and again. Unlike designs, patents and copyrights, trademarks do not have a confirmed statutory limitation. The validation wholly depends on the owner’s will. He can make use of the trademark as long as we want, subject to timely renewals. But what if the registered proprietor fails to get his trademarks renewed, by reason of incomplete application or non-payment of fees, whatsoever? Such failure, in all circumstances, results in expiry of that trademark. Thanks to our legal system, by virtue of Section 25(4) of the Act of 1999, in case of such mishap a registered proprietor can file an application (TM-R) before the Registrar within one year from the date of expiry accompanied by authorized fees and there it is, the trademark legally revived and restored, if no objection appears.
Owing to the same instance, fearful yet anxious information came all the way from Kenya. Very recently, the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) notified that more than 2,000 brands are on the verge of expiration making them prone to lose their trademark rights altogether in Kenya. Out of a total of 2,162 products, some globally renowned brands including Vaseline, Total Gas and Smirnoff forms part of the list as well.
In a statement on June 15, the Managing Director of KIPI, Mr. John Onyango said, “Where no application for renewal of a trade mark published herein is received within 30 days from the date of this publication, the trade mark shall be forthwith removed from the Register of Trade Marks.”
Hennessy and Philips are also under this potential threat, besides the above-mentioned. Another list was rolled out containing the expired ones including Pepsi by Pepsi Co in 1998, Skoda by Podnik in 2009, IBM by IBM Corporation in 1980, Pegasus in 1976, Finlay’s by James Finlay and Company in 1993 and Sellotape by Adhesive Company Limited in 1980 and Citroen in 1982.
In point of fact, where an application is required to be submitted within 1-3 months before expiry in India the same has to be submitted at least 6 months prior, according to Kenyan laws. However, the reinstatement limit is like, that is within 1 year. “The trade mark shall then be restored to the Register of Trade Marks upon being satisfied that it is just to do so and upon imposing such conditions as the registrar may deem fit”, confirmed Mr. John Onyango.