This article on ‘Trademarks Law in India: Recent Developments’ is written by Priyal, a 4th-year student from ICFAI University, Dehradun and an intern at Legal Upanishad.
IPR is one of the evolving fields which are of utmost importance for the one holding its exclusive rights. Whenever we discuss the dimensions of IPR, we preferably understand it as a field incorporating Trademarks, Copyright, Patents and Design. However, the roots of it are much wider than what we see and know.
In this article, we will be discussing the premier dimensions of Trademarks in IPR and what changes have been made to the existing Trademarks Law in India.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT TRADEMARKS?
When we go to the market for buying any product or procure any services, we get encountered a lot of brands and service companies providing their best to the consumers and promoting their brand amongst them. Now, it is not possible for consumers to retain the identity of a particular goods and services company through the specifications of the goods and services they have enjoyed.
It is required that there shall be some form of name or symbol which could help consumers to identify amongst various goods and services companies. Therefore, to promote the brand and services as well as to gain and retain a well-known identity in the market amongst the competitors, the companies use names or symbols for their trade business. This symbol or name is termed as Trademarks or Trade name.
For example, Xiaomi is a well-known android brand globally for its classy android handset and other devices, Reliance Jio is a well-known telecom service provider, and Mama Earth is a well-known skincare brand, Lakme is a well-known skin and makeup essential brand and many more.
Purpose of Trademarks protections
Since there are abundant goods and services companies existing in the market, the competition to sustain in the market is quite challenging and high. Thus, the trademarks used by the companies are basically used for the graphical representation of goods and services helps to distinguish the product identity amongst the competitors.
The high-end purpose of the protection is to shield the product and services of the companies. Trademarks cover a wide ambit. It’s not only limited to the name or symbol used for trade. It also includes the type of packaging, colour contrasts used for packaging, numerical symbols used etc.
LATEST DEVELOPMENT IN THE FIELD OF TRADEMARKS LAW IN INDIA
As we know trademark is all about the identification of brands present in the market. Early, the identification of brands was more bent towards the traditional sphere but now over a period of years, there has been a shift in the place of trademarks beyond such traditional sphere to other interesting and influential spheres.
The evolving era is making a silent revolution and so is India. Trademarks law in India is getting broader and situation-friendly to meet the needs of the current market structure and competition. Some of the major and latest developments in the field of trademarks law in India are discussed below:
Government as an Entrepreneurial Body
Government is a fundamental body that regulates the country. It eyed the nurturing of entrepreneurship in India. For this, it had taken several major steps like Make in India as well as the Digital India crusades. With a motive to promote innovation as well as ownership rights, the government is now acting as an entrepreneur. It can be witnessed from the booming registrations of trademarks that have been obtained from the campaigns like Make in India and Incredible India through their slogans and taglines.
The slogans of these campaigns have become undistinguishably an asset of the Government. This entrepreneurial mind needs to seep into the judicial bodies like Indian Trademarks Office to become more progressive and accepted as the trademarks.
In India, well-known brands are shifting towards a jingoistic approach to the promotion and marketing of their brands. For example, Hero Moto Corp company has lately made an advertisement for ‘Hero Salutes’ with a patriotic theme featuring Indian Army Soldiers. Last year, Paytm, an online payment system published an ad themed to combat corruption in the country.
The result of such country-based influential advertisement is that ladder by which CSR actions are shifting to equity of brands and their protection.
Condition of Trademarks Office
The Indian Trademarks Offices are facing an unsure and uncertain situation. On one side, the office is chasing to clear back and current pendency of trademark prosecution in an organized manner. On the other side, to rush for decided cases, the office is delegating the pendency by hearing the points of examiners who are rejecting some trademarks from getting registered.
The oppositions made are in a written form and so the procedure to seek relief seems to be a bit difficult. However, the actions of examiners can get appealed in the HC which will examine the matter and fortify the order.
National Trademarks Filings
Under the Madrid International Trademark Protocol, the period prescribed for trademark filing is of 18 months. In many cases, trademarks are still under-challenged by oppositions in India. But after the end of 18 months period, the same was deemed to be getting registered by the Trademarks offices and since in the digital world, the well-known brands do not take risk of trademark copying virtually. So, the national trademark filing is introduced for the protection of Trademarks in the digital era.
Also, the fees of filing of trademark got increased by Trademarks Amendment Rule, 2014.
The Indian Trademark Registry Office is now strict with such documents that claim for the former adoption of trademarks and use of it. However, it’s a disadvantage for international brands present in the Indian market that has decided not to make an application for trademark registration in the country. This is authoritative for the former trademark right acquirer that spy region of their interest and then files for trademark registration for business protection.
Intellectual Property Audits
The SEBI made it mandatory for Indian companies to reveal the existing status of their intellectual property in Red Herring Prospectuses. The intellectual property audits seem to be the critical and fruitful ladder to attracting business investors.
Compliance for Advertisement
Advertisements are considered an important part of the assets of a company. It should be such that it initiates a harmonized communication between the consumers and the company. However, it could be seen that some advertisements released make false and irrelevant claims to attract consumers. The ASCI, a regulative body, initiated the action against the brands releasing the advertisement that makes a false and reproachful claims.
Punishment for Infringement of Trademark
In India, The Trademarks Act of 1999 provides for three kinds of punishment for the infringement of Trademarks that are damages, injunction and accounts of profit. In India, the court of law mainly gives an order for the grant of damages in intellectual property disputes.
The IPAB has lately digressed for the extension of trademark application deadline filing during interpretation of the Trademarks Rules 2017 where there are no limits specified.
Intellectual property is such property that originates from an intellectual mind. Since this is a creative and productive creation, it is eligible for trading, purchasing, giving and reserving. Of all Intellectual Property, Trademark is an essential IP for every company existing in the market. So, its protection is crucial and mandatory. However, despite Trademark law in India, the government has taken many steps for effective implementation of laws and development of the laws as per the changing situation of the society.
- Chander Mohan Lal. (n.d.). https://thelawreviews.co.uk/title/the-trademarks-law-review/india.
- Diljit Titus and Rai S Mittal. (n.d.). https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/small-biz/legal/recent-developments-in-intellectual-property-laws-in-india.
- Recent Development and Principles Governing Well-Known Trademarks Law in India. https://www.bananaip.com/ip-news-center/recent-developments-principles-governing-well-known-trademarks.
- Siddharth Shrivastava. (n.d.). Development of IPR laws https://www.mondaq.com/india/trademark/1084536/development-of-ipr-laws-in-india.