What Are Well-Known Trademarks?
Trademarks are extremely important for a business to grow by leaps and bounds. Generally the Trademarks which are registered are very much prone to infringement by its close business competitors.
A Well-Known Trademark is a unique type of Trademark. This mark gets a special type of status in comparison to other registered marks which are on record in the books of the registrar.
A well-known trademark is a mark that is widely recognized and has acquired a significant reputation and goodwill among the relevant public. It goes beyond ordinary trademark protection and enjoys additional legal benefits and protection. Well-known trademarks are given a higher level of protection to prevent their unauthorized use and dilution.
Well known marks are granted to businesses which are either considered popular or have good influence over consumers in the market. Now this status can be achieved either by strategic promotion and marketing or the impact that a particular good has over the consumers.
The legal aspect
There are majorly three aspects which are recognised for a well known trademark which include:
- Originality; and
- Superior Quality.
Upon registration, this status provides an edge to the business.
It is mentioned that the registrar must take into account the following provisions, that is, Subsection 11(6) – 11(9) of the Trademarks Act, 1999 whilst determining the well-known nature of a trademark.
In order to register a well-known trademark, companies or businesses must submit an application to the Registry of Trade-marks, and this application must include the following information:
- Name, Address, and Country of Citizenship of the Applicant.
- Applicants are also required to submit the proposed mark, which is to be accompanied by any relevant translation or transliteration.
- The class or classes of goods or services to which this mark applies specifically, although successful registration as a well-known trademark provides protection beyond the limits of this class
- Documentation to be provided by the applicant to support their claim that the brand is well established.
Evidence Required to Prove Well-Known Status
To demonstrate that your trademark is well-known, you must demonstrate that it has been utilized and recognized in the marketplace. This may include information from
- Sales research;
- Press coverage; and
- Other relevant records.
The Applicant bears the obligation to prove any claims, and this proof should be persuasive, unambiguous, and at the same time showcase both the brand name’s broad use and distinctiveness as well.
As mentioned before, the examiner is required to take into account a number of factors mentioned in Sub-sections 11 (6) to 11 (9) when considering the qualifications of the mark to be registered as a well-known Trademark.
The Indian Trademarks Act provides for a strong legal foundation for the protection of well-known trademarks in India. They ensure that these marks receive the necessary safeguards against unauthorized use & maintain their distinctiveness & reputation in the marketplace.
Author: Rajitha Singh, Legal Intern at PA Legal.
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