“Iskcon Is A ‘Well Known’ Trademark in India as per The Trade Marks Act”, Observed Justice BP Colabawalla Of The Bombay High Court


Prabhjot Kaur 01/07/20 #copyright #patent #trademark #brandprotection #infringement #news #newsupdate #topnews #world #headlines #breakingnews #latestnews #trending #blogging #educationalblog #Trademarkclickcom #ISKCON #BombayHighCourt #wellknownmark #LordKrishna #AlcisSports

Brand owners shell out millions to build up a remarkable reputation for their mark globally as well as to keep the popularity gained intact in this competitive world. Besides coming out victorious against active rivals in the market, the proprietors have to augment and intensify that customer loyalty. The marks with indisputable repute are oftentimes awarded the “well-known” tag, while the others devote all their time and money and energy in proving the competent court that their marks are indeed “well-known”. The ultimate benefit of well-known status? No brand, whether existing or new can make use of or imitate or copy the well-known trademark on any of the goods in same class or any other class, to derive illicit profit out of the goodwill vested in the name. Lately, another piece of good news showered after the Bombay High Court declared ‘ISKCON’ to be a well-known trademark.

Founded in the year 1966 at New York by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is a Gaudiya Vaishnava Hindu religious organization. Also known as the Hare Krishna movement, the society has been maintained by Lord Krishna followers and worshippers since decades. Headquartered at Mayapur in West Bengal, this internationally renowned organization has over 850 temples, eco-villages and worship centers worldwide.

In the month of February this year, the religious organization came forward an apparel company ISKCON Apparel Pvt. Ltd selling apparels and other merchandise on the internet, using the trademark ‘ISKCON’. It is no surprise that such discovery highly agitated the heads and therefore, they initiated with summons and notices, at first, to stop the usage of their registered trademark. Since no response was received, ISKCON’s representatives were left with no option but to file a lawsuit against the company for alleged trademark infringement, trademark dilution and unfair competition.

Further hearing of the matter took place on Friday last week, wherein Justice BP Colabawala of the Bombay High Court observed that, even though the defendants have changed their name to Alcis Sports Pvt. Ltd, they are still marketing merchandise under the ISKCON trademark. The hearing came out as a landmark one after the Court took into consideration the materials placed on record including the evidences that the trademark ISKCON, satisfies the “well-known” mark test laid down under Section 11 (6) and 11(7) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999. The clauses merely provide that a Registrar while determining the well-known status of a mark must take into account its recognition and knowledge amongst relevant section of public, duration, advertising, publicity, etc.

“Since ISKCON is a coined mark which is exclusively associated with the plaintiff religious organization, it undoubtedly deserves the highest degree of protection. The documents evidently show that the trademark ISKCON has acquired immense and long-standing reputation and goodwill throughout India and it is associated with the plaintiff and none else,” observed the Hon’ble Court. “In view thereof, I find no difficulty in holding that the plaintiff’s trademark ISKCON is a ‘well known’ trademark in India as per the Trade Marks Act.”

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