This post was first published on October 16, 2014.
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].