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The Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB), in a trade mark dispute between two Ludhiana-based manufacturing units – Highways Industries Limited and M/s. Highway Cycle Industries, has condoned a 72 day delay in filling of an appeal, emphasizing that such delay could be excused if the party can prove beyond doubt that there was a ‘bona fide mistake.’ However, the IPAB stressed that such delay in filing appeal should not alter the outcome of the case.

It was claimed by Highway Industries that, due to an unfortunate clerical error, the copy of the judgment had been lost and therefore caused the unwarranted delay in filing the appeal. Highway Cycle countered the contention by maintaining that the delay was an act of negligence and furthermore the date of receipt of judgments had not been submitted before the court.

The Tribunal said the issue before it was to examine whether there was “valid or sufficient reason for not preferring the appeal within the stipulated period of time.” It also concurred with the Apex Court’s finding in N. BalaKrishnan v, Krishna Murthy AIR 1998 SC 3222: “Sometimes, a short delay cannot be exempted because of want of acceptable explanation whereas in certain other cases, a long delay can be condoned if the explanation is satisfactory.”

The IPAB said that if the appeal was not allowed, it would result in “irreparable loss” to the company. As the “balance of convenience” was in favour of Highway Industry, the board allowed the appeal on condition that Highway Industry paid Rs 5,000 as costs to Highway Cycle.