The fame game: well-known and famous marks in India


Mahua Roy Chowdhury

The fame game: well-known and famous marks in India

Indian courts and the Registrar of trademarks are broadly supportive of celebrity and well-known marks, as Mahua Roy Chowdhury explains.

The Indian courts accepted the rights of famous or well-known marks even when the existing statute at that time did not specifically allow registration of them in the normal course of events. The amended (new) statute of 1999 defined well-known marks. Further, the amended statute recognised wellknown marks irrespective of whether they are Indian or foreign marks.

The courts have favoured well-known trademark owners in several cases involving Whirlpool, Volvo, Ford, Mercedes Benz, Hyundai and Honda, as well as in the case of Sony. The doctrine of dilution was applied in all these cases of passing-off.

Although the amended statute laid down determining factors for the Registrar to consider, it does not specify the factors which the court needs to consider while determining whether a mark is well-known.

well-known marks, Daler Mehndi, Trade Mark Registry, domain names, Delhi High Court