On March 25, 2020, we had informed you that the Supreme Court of India (SC) had passed an order extending the periods of limitation, including in intellectual property matters. This was done in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and the country-wide lockdown. The said order extended the limitation periods prescribed under the general law or under any special laws (e.g., the intellectual property statutes), for filing of petitions, applications, suits, appeals and all other proceedings in all courts, tribunals and authorities across the country, with effect from March 15, 2020 until further orders. The Delhi High Court in an order dated May 11, 2020 further clarified that the Indian Intellectual Property Office (“the IPO”) was bound by the above order of the SC. Accordingly, the limitation period, deadlines for completion of various acts, proceedings, filings, payment of fees, etc., in the matters pending before the IPO stood extended till further orders from the SC.
Today, on March 8, 2021 the SC ended the above extension. This is after taking note of the changing scenario relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, and gradual return to normalcy and resumption of almost normal functioning of Courts and Tribunals. The following points from the order of the SC are relevant for deadlines of the IPO:
a. In computing the period of limitation for any suit, appeal, application or proceeding, the period from 15.03.2020 till 14.03.2021 would be excluded. Consequently, any balance period of limitation remaining as on 15.03.2020 would become available with effect from 15.03.2021; and
b. In those cases where the limitation would have expired during the period between 15.03.2020 to 14.03.2021, irrespective of the actual balance period of limitation remaining, all parties would have a limitation period of 90 days from 15.03.2021. However, if the actual balance period of limitation remaining with effect from 15.03.2021 is more than 90 days, that longer period would apply.
We will update you if the IPO issues any notices in pursuance of this order.