Stirring it up: from Madras to Madrid?

The IPKat has just received information from the Calcutta-based law firm of D. P. Ahuja, via Chris McLeod (Director of Trade Marks, Hammonds) to the following effect:
"1. Contrary to information being wrongly circulated around the world by interested groups and persons, the Indian Government has not acceded to the Madrid Protocol, to date (12 March 2008)

Kindly take note of this and be wary of such misinformation.

2. Similarly, please note that the Patents Act and the Trademarks Act as well as several other statutes of India specifically bar any foreigner or foreign Law Firm from practicing Intellectual Property Law in India in any form.

This may be taken into account when dealing with "branches" of Non-Indian Law Firms in India".
The IPKat can confirm that, according to WIPO's own official data, India is not listed among the nations subscribing to either the Madrid Protocol or the Madrid Agreement systems for international trade mark filing. He wonders whether this information came from a misleading headline "India accedes to Madrid Protocol on trademark protection" in an article on, which mentions that the Indian union cabinet has approved the country's accession to the Madrid Protocol and would bring a Parliamentary bill to enable accession to take place.

Merpel asks, what would actually happen to any foreigner who practises IP in India? And should we make some polite suggestions to the Indian government as to whether this is a good thing or a bad thing?
Stirring it up: from Madras to Madrid? Stirring it up: from Madras to Madrid? Reviewed by Jeremy on Thursday, March 13, 2008 Rating: 5


  1. Amit Jamsandekar (Advocate, High Court Bombay) tells me that the publication on is right but its understanding and interpretation may be wrong. He says: "THE TRADE MARKS (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2007 (Bill No 65 of 2007) is pending in the Parliament. It is on the web site of the Indian parliament. The parliament web site is (Rajyasabha - Council of States)".
    Amit has also sent me a copy of the Bill, if anyone would like to view it.

  2. Hi,

    I am not so sure if the patent act or trade mark act specifically bar foriegners or foriegn law firms from practising in India. The Bar Council of India Act may have such a clause - but that is applicable only to lawyers - and not Patent Agents / Trade Mark Agents. This would be the commonsense reading of the statutes and I am not aware of any judicial pronouncement to the contrary.

    Mathew Chacko


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