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Food brands in India abandoning registered rights to avoid “trademark tax”; expert decries short-sighted reaction
Reports have emerged of a number of food traders in India giving up their registered trademarks to avoid a newly implemented 5% goods and services tax. One senior IP expert confirmed to World Trademark Review that this new tax affects both domestic and international companies, but accused companies giving up trademark registrations as taking a “myopic outlook” as the benefits of a trademark far outweigh a 5% tax outlay.
A study from the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in India has revealed that the trade of fake goods in the country rocketed from 2011-2012 to 2013-2014. This confirmation that illicit goods are a pervasive part of the Indian economy estimated to be between 8% and 15% of the country’s total gross domestic product serves as a stark reminder that the global trademark community urgently needs to focus awareness and enforcement efforts in the region.
In an effort to process applications more efficiently, the Indian trademark office has identified and put on notice over 25,000 applications that either failed a compliance check or are deemed incomplete. Speaking to attorneys in the country, reaction has been mixed commentators told us that, while there are some examples of “frivolous objections”, there has also been a tangible reduction in the time in which new applications are being accepted.
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