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Section 11 – The Trade Marks Act, 1999

The Trade Marks Act,1999

 

11. Relative grounds for refusal of registration.—

 

(1) Save as provided in section 12, a trade mark shall not be registered if, because of—

 

(a) its identity with an earlier trade mark and similarity of goods or services covered by the trade mark; or

 

(b) its similarity to an earlier trade mark and the identity or similarity of the goods or services covered by the trade mark,

 

there exists a likelihood of confusion on the part of the public, which includes the likelihood of association with the earlier trade mark.

 

(2) A trade mark which—

 

(a) is identical with or similar to an earlier trade mark; and

 

(b) is to be registered for goods or services which are not similar to those for which the earlier trade mark is registered in the name of a different proprietor,

 

shall not be registered, if or to the extent, the earlier trade mark is a well-known trade mark in India and the use of the later mark without due cause would take unfair advantage of or be detrimental to the distinctive character or repute of the earlier trade mark.

 

(3) A trade mark shall not be registered if, or to the extent that, its use in India is liable to be prevented—

 

(a) by virtue of any law in particular the law of passing off protecting an unregistered trade mark used in the course of trade; or

 

(b) by virtue of law of copyright.

 

(4) Nothing in this section shall prevent the registration of a trade mark where the proprietor of the earlier trade mark or other earlier right consents to the registration, and in such case the Registrar may register the mark under special circumstances under section 12.

 

Explanation.—For the purposes of this section, earlier trade mark means—

 

(a) a registered trade mark or convention application referred to in section 154 which has a date of application earlier than that of the trade mark in question, taking account, where appropriate, of the priorities claimed in respect of the trade marks;

 

(b) a trade mark which, on the date of the application for registration of the trade mark in question, or where appropriate, of the priority claimed in respect of the application, was entitled to protection as a well-known trade mark.

 

(5) A trade mark shall not be refused registration on the grounds specified in sub-sections (2) and (3), unless objection on any one or more of those grounds is raised in opposition proceedings by the proprietor of the earlier trade mark.

 

(6) The Registrar shall, while determining whether a trade mark is a well-known trade mark, take into account any fact which he considers relevant for determining a trade mark as a well-known trade mark including—

 

(i) the knowledge or recognition of that trade mark in the relevant section of the public including knowledge in India obtained as a result of promotion of the trade mark;

 

(ii) the duration, extent and geographical area of any use of that trade mark;

 

(iii) the duration, extent and geographical area of any promotion of the trade mark, including advertising or publicity and presentation, at fairs or exhibition of the goods or services to which the trade mark applies;

 

(iv) the duration and geographical area of any registration of or any application for registration of that trade mark under this Act to the extent they reflect the use or recognition of the trade mark;

 

(v) the record of successful enforcement of the rights in that trade mark; in particular, the extent to which the trade mark has been recognised as a well-known trade mark by any court or Registrar under that record.

 

(7) The Registrar shall, while determining as to whether a trade mark is known or recognised in a relevant section of the public for the purposes of sub-section (6), take into account—

 

(i) the number of actual or potential consumers of the goods or services;

 

(ii) the number of persons involved in the channels of distribution of the goods or services;

 

(iii) the business circles dealing with the goods or services,

to which that trade mark applies.

 

(8) Where a trade mark has been determined to be well-known in at least one relevant section of the public in India by any court or Registrar, the Registrar shall consider that trade mark as a well-known trade mark for registration under this Act.

 

(9) The Registrar shall not require as a condition, for determining whether a trade mark is a well-known trade mark, any of the following, namely:—

 

(i) that the trade mark has been used in India;

 

(ii) that the trade mark has been registered;

 

(iii) that the application for registration of the trade mark has been filed in India;

 

(iv) that the trade mark—

 

(a) is well known in; or

 

(b) has been registered in; or

 

(c) in respect of which an application for registration has been filed in, any jurisdiction other than India; or

 

(v) that the trade mark is well-known to the public at large in India.

 

(10) While considering an application for registration of a trade mark and opposition filed in respect thereof, the Registrar shall—

 

(i) protect a well-known trade mark against the identical or similar trade marks;

 

(ii) take into consideration the bad faith involved either of the applicant or the opponent affecting the right relating to the trade mark.

 

(11) Where a trade mark has been registered in good faith disclosing the material informations to the Registrar or where right to a trade mark has been acquired through use in good faith before the commencement of this Act, then, nothing in this Act shall prejudice the validity of the registration of that trade mark or right to use that trade mark on the ground that such trade mark is identical with or similar to a well-known trade mark.

 

Comments

 

This section provides relative grounds for the refusal of registration of a trade mark. A trade mark cannot be registered if because of (i) its identity with an earlier trade mark and similarity of goods or services, (ii) its similarity to an earlier trade mark and the identity or similarity of the goods and services, there is likelihood of confusion. It also provides that a trade mark cannot be registered which is identical with or similar to an earlier trade mark and which is to be registered for goods and services which are not similar to those for which earlier trade mark is registered in the name of a different proprietor if, or to the extent, the earlier trade mark is a well-known trade mark in India. It further provides that a trade mark cannot be registered if, or to the extent that, its use in India is liable to be prevented by virtue of any law.

 

Registration is not matter of right

 

Even if the appellant’s proposed trade mark satisfies the conditions under the Act, the appellant is not entitled as a matter of right to the registration of trade mark. It is open to the Registrar to decline to register the appellant’s trade mark; Geep Flashlight Industries Ltd. v. Registrar of Trade Mark, AIR 1972 Del 179.

 

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The Trade Marks Act, 1999

 

Indian Laws – Bare Acts

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