Corona Puts the IP World on Notice, Bajaj Defends its Well-Known Trademark, Corona Very Popular with the USPTO, Attappady Red Gram Applied for GI and more, brought to you by the Trademark Attorneys at BananaIP (BIP) Counsel.
INDIAN TRADEMARK UPDATES
Bajaj Cites Well-Know Mark Status in Defending Trademark
Bajaj Electricals, part of the Bajaj conglomerates of businesses and industries, filed an application at the Bombay High Court for an interim injunction against Gourav Bajaj (‘Defendant’), an individual who operates two retail electrical appliance stores at Abohar, Punjab. Gourav Bajaj was operating his stores under the trade names ‘Apna Bajaj Store’ & ‘Bajaj Excellent’. Additionally, the Defendant is also said to operate a website under the impugned domain www.apnabajajstore.com. Bajaj Electricals in this suit contended that the mark BAJAJ has been declared as a well-known trademark by the Bombay High Court in 1987. Bajaj further contended that even the defense of personal name use is of no consequence as the very adoption and use of the impugned mark by the Defendant is dishonest as the expression “Powered By: BAJAJ” was used upon the impugned label, suggesting that they are sponsored and/or endorsed by Bajaj. Despite several notices, no one appeared on behalf of the Defendant. Based on the submissions and evidence provided by Bajaj, the Court passed an interim injunction against the Defendant from using the trademarks ‘Apna Bajaj Store’ & ‘Bajaj Excellent’ and the impugned domain www.apnabajajstore.com.
Citation: Bajaj Electricals Limited vs. Gourav Bajaj & Anr (Interim Application no. 1 of 2020)
INTERNATIONAL TRADEMARK UPDATES
Corona Very Popular with the USPTO
With the COVID-19 pandemic on the rise, it is not surprising that individuals or companies are filing new trademark applications for the term. Several applications containing the term “Coronavirus”, “Covid 19”, “I Survived Coronavirus 2020”, as well as “I Beat The Coronavirus” have been filed with the USPTO in the last one month. The applications have been filed under various classes including apparel, entertainment services, as well as pre-recorded audio cassettes featuring music and record albums.
BRAND LICENSING UPDATES
Minnie Mouse Enters the Uniqlo World
Uniqlo, the Japanese retail giant popularly known for apparels, has collaborated with Ambush, a Tokyo based clothing company to launch a new apparel range. The new collection is inspired by the popular kid’s character Minnie Mouse and will include athleisure type oversized UTs and coordinated girls’ dresses. The collection also boasts of coats, parkas, bags, and caps, and highlights light neon pink and mint green hues.
New Oral Care in Town by Aquawhite
Big warm exciting news for all the kiddies around. Aquawhite, kid’s oral care brand has added two new characters in their kid’s oral care product range by collaborating with Peppa Pig and Hello Kitty. The toothbrushes and toothpaste have been designed keeping in mind the delicate nature of kids and includes a two minute auto-off light that blinks all along while brushing. The range has been designed for kids between 2-8 years. Aquawhite has earlier collaborated with characters such as Chota Bheem, Pokemon, Spongebob Squarepants, Angry Birds and many more.
Jeff Forays into Indian Domain
Jeff, Spain based on-demand laundry and daily services startup, is all set to venture into the Indian market. The company is planning on adding 200 franchise stores in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi NCR. Founded in 2015 in Spain, the company offers laundry and dry-cleaning services at home through a mobile-based app. At present, the company offers two thousand franchise stores across 40 countries.
DOMAIN NAME DISPUTE UPDATES
Google Protects its Domain Name
Google had filed a domain name dispute complaint with the International Arbitration and Mediation Forum against Pro Garden Management (‘Respondent’), an Alabama US based company, for registering a confusingly similar domain, www.google-apis.info.com. Google contended that the disputed domain is confusingly similar to its registered trademark “GOOGLE” and the Respondent just added the generic term “apis” and the “.info” generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) to Google’s mark. It was further contended that the Respondent did not have any legitimate interest over the domain and was using it in bad faith. The Respondent did not submit any response to the complaint. The Panel observed that the domain name was confusingly similar to the trademark “GOOGLE”. Further, the non-usage of the disputed domain name/the inactive website proved the bad faith of the Respondent. The Panel also observed that there was a prima facie case in favor of Google and thus ordered the Respondent to transfer the disputed domain name.
GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATION UPDATES
Attappady Red Gram Applied for GI
Thuvara or red gram or pigeon pea is an important traditional crop of the Attappady tribal area in Palakkad district, Kerala. Attappady red gram is said to have large seeds and additional weight, with less tannins and phenols, adding to its taste and nutritional value. The Kerala Government has formulated a special scheme for Attappady under Attappady Millet Village programme to conserve the traditional crops of the area for securing the livelihood of tribal people. This GI application was filed by Attappady Thuvara Uthppadhaka Sangham in March 2020.
GENERAL IP UPDATES
Corona Puts the IP World on Notice
In the midst of the ongoing Coronavirus epidemic, several IP offices all around the world have taken measures to minimize user impact by closing down their IP offices either fully or partially. The EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has postponed all meetings and events and extended all time limits expiring between 9th March and 30th April to 1st May 2020. The IP Office of Hong Kong as well as the China National IP Administration have extended all patent, design and trademark deadlines for filing dates falling between 29th January and 21st February. The Italian IP Office has taken measures which include telephone assistance service through call center operators from home, as well as temporarily closing its public-facing services, except the filing of urgent documents. The Spanish IP Office (OEPM) has announced that all deadlines for pending proceedings are suspended and will be resumed when the state of emergency or its extensions finish. The USPTO has closed all its offices from 16th March 2020 until further notice. Similarly, the Intellectual Property Office of India has suspended all hearings related to trademark, patents and design application till 15th April.
Authored and compiled by Uma T.S & Shreya Chaddha
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It’s appalling to see how people are using domain names to scam/create alternate identities to mislead people. Being a domain name investor myself, this creates a bad impression on the whole community. In fact, a lot of serious investors on NamePros advise the new investors to be very considerate of not infringing any trademark.
It affects the community, business and reputation. In fact, there were news of people putting fake listings of Sanitizers and masks on LinkedIn as well and the government has asked Godaddy to shut down all such domain names trying to do such shady business.