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Trademarks

BananaIP Counsels > Trademarks (Page 24)

Intellectual Property: Weekly Warm up with Sinapse!

This image reads Weekly warm up with Sinapse. This post aims to be a quick capsule of all the IP related activity of the past week. Click on the image to read the full post.

INDIAN GOVERNMENT TO TAKE LEGAL ACTION AGAINST GOOGLE FOR ‘INCORRECT MAP OF INDIA’

… The Indian Government has called upon the Department of Electronics and Information Technology and Survey of India to initiate “appropriate” legal action against Google for wrongly depicting India’s international boundaries.

ACTIVISION’S COPYRIGHT SPARKS OUTBURST AMONG CALL OF DUTY GAMERS

… Gamers play some of the most popular games while copyrights over such games are reserved with developers. They often face allegations of copyright infringement. YouTube has come to the rescue by introducing “copyright strikes”. This news was brought up when Activision Publishing, Inc., a video game developer, flagged videos featuring glitches or bugs in its latest game Call of Duty: Advance Warfare.

Flavour Marks – Can They Become a Reality?

This image depicts a pizza, as the post is about trademarking flavours. Click on the image to read the full post.

Here is the next post in the series of Student Blog Contest. This post is authored by Amrita Vasudevan.

Every city has its food treasures and eating haunts, and Bangalore, for example, has Shivaji Military Hotel’s Donne Biryani or CTR’s Benne Masala Dose, both of which have quite the fan following. Eating joints like these often become landmarks, and a ‘must visit’ for tourists. We often associate a particular taste or flavour with an eating joint, a sort of trademark of that business. But can we then register and protect the flavour as one?

Flavour marks, if accepted, join the list of non conventional trademarks like sound, smell, touch etc. The criteria for registration of a traditional trademark, however, do not translate well for the registration of a non-conventional mark like a flavour. For example, a flavour cannot be graphically represented. Additionally, since taste is such a subjective human experience, it escapes objective and precise definition. Some jurisdictions like the EU plan to remove the requirement of graphical representation, but there still has to be some kind of representation. Representation by depositing samples at the registering office is unfeasible as flavours change over time, besides being difficult to access.

Part IV: Descriptive Marks – Can They be Protected?

The image reads Trademarks. The post is about interesting development in trademark law. Click on the image to read the full post.

In the final part of this series, we shall conclude the discussion on descriptive marks with an examination of the Indian position on the protection of these marks. Section 9 of the Trademark Act, 1999 which lays down absolute grounds for refusal of registration of trademarks, clearly states that trademarks which consist exclusively of marks or indications, which may serve in trade to designate the kind, quality, quantity, intended purpose, values, geographical origin or the time of production of the goods or rendering of the service or other characteristics of the goods or service shall not be registered. This provision applies to marks that are both descriptive and non-distinctive in relation to the goods or services for which protection is sought. While analyzing a mark, one has to look at the word, not in its strict grammatical significance, but as it would represent itself to the public at large who are to look at it and form an opinion of what it connotes, as observed in Keystone Knitting Mills Ltd.’s TM [(1928) 45 RPC 193].

Understanding Trademark Registration Procedures in the Maldives

This image reads Trademark. This post is about interesting development in Trademark law. Click on the image to read the full post.

The Intellectual Property Regime in the Republic of Maldives, the smallest Asian country in population and in area, is an interesting study. In order to comply with the TRIPS Agreement, the Maldives Government (referred to as GOM) enacted the Copyright Law in April, 2011, and thereafter spread public awareness of Copyright Law through TV and radio programs, Government announcements, school events and meetings with relevant media and entertainment sector associations.

It is important to note that GOM does not have any specific legal infrastructure to protect Trademarks. However, GOM is currently working on bills regarding Trademarks and Geographical Indication, with the assistance of WIPO. GOM recently established an IPR unit within the Ministry of Economic Development, but has not yet signed international agreements or conventions on Intellectual Property Rights.

Understanding the Doctrine of Foreign Equivalents – Part 2

The image reads Trademarks. The post is about interesting development in trademark law. Click on the image to read the full post.

As discussed in our earlier post, the Doctrine of Foreign Equivalents under the Trademarks Law requires the Trademark Office to translate foreign words to English in order to determine whether certain marks qualify for trademark registration or not. In this post, we are looking into whether the Indian Courts consider this doctrine an acceptable principle of the Trademark Law.

Indian Courts have not faced the question of applicability of this doctrine in many cases yet. The Bombay High court had discussed the applicability of the doctrine in the 1997 case of Aktiebolaget Volvo of Sweden vs. Volvo Steels Ltd. of Gujarat. This case relates to the use of the mark VOLVO by the Defendant. One of the contentions taken by the Defendant as a reason for adoption of the mark VOLVO was that the mark was not a mark invented by the Plaintiff and hence was not distinctive. The Defendant argued that the mark was adopted from the Latin word meaning ‘Re-Rolling’ and since their products were used for rolling, the mark VOLVO was adopted for its products.

Understanding the Doctrine of Foreign Equivalents – Part 1

The image reads Trademark. The post is about the Trademark Agent Exam which will be conducted soo. Click on the image to read the full post.

The Doctrine of Foreign Equivalents is a rule used in the Trademark Law which states that a foreign word and its equivalent English translation may be deemed confusingly similar. Under this doctrine, marks consisting of or including foreign words or terms from common, modern languages are translated into English to determine the extent to which it is generic, descriptive, the likelihood of confusion it may cause among other similar issues.

The Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure of the USPTO provides the following tests for determining the applicability of the doctrine of foreign equivalents:

  1. Whether, to the US buyer familiar to said foreign language, the mark would indicate its English equivalent?
  2. Whether, to the US buyer familiar to the said foreign language, the mark would have a descriptive or generic connotation as in the foreign language? and
  3. Whether the use of the foreign word would be descriptive of the product to that segment of public which is familiar with that language?

Part III: Descriptive Marks – Can They be Protected?

This image depicts the 'Trademark' and 'Registered' symbols. This post is a part of a series on what marks are permissible as trademarks. Click on the image to read the full post.

In continuation to the earlier post where we covered the US approach towards protection of descriptive marks, in the current post, we will be analyzing the circumstances in which descriptive marks can be protected in the EU.

The EU position towards descriptive marks is clearly stated under Article 7(1)(c) of the Council Regulation (EC) No. 207/2009, which is couched in the similar language as that of the provision in the Indian Trademarks Act 1999, talking about the same. As per this provision, signs which consist exclusively of signs or indications which may serve, in trade, to designate the kind, quality, quantity, intended purpose, value, geographical origin or the time of production of the goods or of rendering of the service, or other characteristics of the good or service, cannot be registered as Community trademarks.

Trademarking the Name of God? Huh! – Part 3

This image depicts Goddess Durga's face. This image is relevant for the post as it about trademarking the name of the Gods! Click on the image to read the full post.

In continuation to the previous post, we shall now have a look at other important cases where the issue of whether or not one can monopolize the name of the Creator by trademarking the name of God is discussed.

In order to prevent unauthorized use of the picture of diety of Attukal Devi and description of “Sabarimala of Women / Streegalode Shabharimala (in Malayalam)”, Attukal Bhagavathy Temple Trust has secured registration for the image / picture of diety as well as the descripion of Sabarimala of Women through registration by Application Numbers 1420800 and 1420799 (Check the status of the Applications here on the IPINDIA WebSite). Currently these applications are registered and granted protection. In 2009, Kerala High Court’s Division Bench initiated a suo motto proceeding against the decision of Trademark Registry in granting registration to the aforementioned Trademark Applications, as reported in the Hindu.

Part II: Descriptive Marks – Can They be Protected?

This image depicts the 'Trademark' and 'Registered' symbols. This post is a part of a series on what marks are permissible as trademarks. Click on the image to read the full post.

In the second post of this blog series, we shall be analyzing the US approach towards descriptive marks.

In the US, a mark is merely descriptive if it “consists merely of words descriptive of the qualities, ingredients or characteristics of the goods or services related to the mark”, being enough if it describes one characteristic of said goods or services. Like in India, a mark which is merely descriptive or deceptively mis-descriptive of the goods on or in connection with which it is used is not registrable on the principal register, as clearly stated under Section 2(e)(1) of the US Trademark Act of 1946. In re Abcor Development Corp, 588 F. 2d 811, the US Courts clearly laid down the reasons for not protecting merely descriptive marks, which are stated as follows:

Trademarking the name of God? Huh! – Part 2

This image depicts a statue of Lord Shiva. It is relevant to the post, as the post talks about the possibility of trademarking the name of God! Click on the image to read the full post.

In this continuation post on legal aspects of trademarking god’s name, we shall look into a few cases where Courts have discussed whether or not one can trademark God’s name and therefore have monopoly in using God’s name as an Intellectual Property.

Usually, for a trademark used for a particular brand of goods or services, to be granted, it has to acquire secondary distinctiveness in its respective consumer market, and thus, one can start using the trademark on a date before he applies for its trademark. The trademark may get registered, depending on other legal factors as well as on the fact that it has acquired distinctiveness due to the long use in its respective consumer market.

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