What is a Trademark?


    In News

    Recently, Delhi High Court ruled and dismissed a case of trademark infringement brought by the global fast food chain against Suberb, a Delhi-based restaurant.

    What is a trademark?

    • It is a symbol, design, word or phrase that is identified with a business. When a trademark is registered, its owner can claim “exclusive rights” on its use.
      • A trademark is a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises. 
    • Legislation In India: The Trademark Act, of 1999, governs the regime on trademarks and their registration.
      •  The Act guarantees protection for a trademark that is registered with the Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trademarks, also known as the trademark registry. 
      • A trademark is valid for 10 years, and can be renewed by the owner indefinitely every 10 years.
    • Violation of trademark: Using a registered trademark without authorisation of the entity that owns the trademark is a violation or infringement of the trademark.
      • Using a substantially similar mark for similar goods or services could also amount to infringement. 
      • In such cases, courts have to determine whether this can cause confusion for consumers between the two.
    • Ways in which a trademark can be infringed: 
      • Deceptive Similarity: The law states that a mark is considered deceptively similar to another mark if it nearly resembles that other mark, confusing the consumer in the process. 
        • Such deception can be caused phonetically, structurally or visually.
      • Passing off :  a brand logo is misspelt in a way that’s not easy for the consumer to discern. 
        • In such cases, the infringing products need not be identical — but similarity in the nature, character, and performance of the goods of the rival traders has to be established. 
        • The Supreme Court has said that passing off is a “species of unfair trade competition or of actionable unfair trading by which one person, through deception, attempts to obtain an economic benefit of the reputation which other has established for himself in a particular trade or business”.

    Do you Know ?

    • Trademark Law Treaty (TLT) is  administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization
    • The aim of the Trademark Law Treaty (TLT) is to standardize and streamline national and regional trademark registration procedures. 
    • This is achieved through the simplification and harmonization of certain features of those procedures, thus making trademark applications and the administration of trademark registrations in multiple jurisdictions less complex and more predictable.