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TRADEMARK RULES, 2017

The Trade Mark Rules, 2017 have been notified and have come into effect from 6th March, 2017. These Rules, which replace the erstwhile Trade Mark Rules 2002, have streamlined and simplified the processing of Trade Mark applications. Under the new rules total number of trademark forms has been reduced from 74 to 8 and all kinds of trade mark applications (single class, multi-class, collective marks etc.) are through the same form. Contested proceedings like opposition, rectification is through a single form. It seems to be a very positive step to make the whole process less tedious. To promote e-filing of TM applications, the fee for online filing has been kept at 10% lower than that for physical filing.

Also, based on the feedback of various stakeholders, the fee for individuals, startups, and small enterprises has been reduced to Rs.4500 against Rs.8000.

 SEBI TIGHTENS SETTLEMENT REGULATIONS FOR FIRMS

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has made various amendments to existing norms for settlement of administrative and civil proceedings in order to streamline and strengthen the settlement process. With the amendments SEBI has power to charge interest in case of excessive delays in filing of applications and payment of settlement amount. Among others, re-application of rejected or withdrawn applications in deserving cases, subject to payment of additional fees and interest, has been permitted. In case the application is filed after 60 days’ expiry of specific time period, the settlement amount would be increased with the levy of 6 percent interest per annum and such applications would only be considered in exceptional cases.

 RBI TO FRAME STANDARD PROCEDURE FOR FDI APPROVALS POST FIPB

The Reserve Bank is expected to formulate standard operating procedure (SOP) for approval of FDI proposals by ministries following the government decision to phase out FIPB. The proposal for setting up norms for FDI approval in sensitive sectors, which are currently under government approval of the FDI policy, was discussed at the recent inter-ministerial meeting. In order to further improve ease of doing business, the government has decided to abolish FIPB and form new mechanism for expeditious clearance of foreign investment proposals. Once the FIPB is abolished, the onus of approving FDI proposals would be on the ministries and regulatory authorities concerned. The inter-ministerial committee has also discussed the possibility of approving the FDI proposals along with grant of licenses. In the sensitive sectors like defense and telecom, companies having licenses can only seek foreign investments. And the power to approve the FDI proposals may be extended to the concern ministry.

 SBI TO COMPLETE MERGER OF 6 BANKS IN THREE MONTHS

SBI has sought three months from RBI to complete the merger of six banks which includes five associates and BharatiyaMahila Bank (BMB). The merger process will begin from April 1st, 2017.The government has already given approval for merger of State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur (SBBJ), State Bank of Mysore (SBM), State Bank of Travancore (SBT), State Bank of Patiala (SBP), State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH) and BMB. With the merger of all the five associates, SBI is expected to become a lender of global proportions with an asset base of Rs. 37 trillion (Rs. 37 lakh crore) or over $555 billion, 22,500 branches and 58,000 ATMs. It will have over 50 crore customers.

DIPP IN TOUCH WITH CORPORATE AFFAIRS MINISTRY TO UPDATE START-UP RULES

The Commerce and Industry Ministry is in touch with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) to update the rules for start-ups in line with the government’s Start-up India action plan. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), which is the overseeing authority on industrial rules regarding start-ups in the country, had written to the MCA to update company rules and regulations in line with key decisions taken with regards to start-ups. The Start-up India Action plan, launched back in January 2016 incorporates the DIPP’s rules regarding such companies. In line with its focus on ease of doing business, the norms allow for easy incorporation and dissolution of start-ups.

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