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17 June 2015

Nestlé brand ambassadors caught up in Maggi noodles scandal

Nestlé faces a major brand crisis in India after the country’s food safety regulator labelled the popular Maggi line of instant noodles “unsafe and hazardous” and ordered the product pulled off shelves. Although it is challenging the ban in the high court, the Swiss company is said to be preparing to destroy $50 million worth of inventory. In an interesting twist, unconfirmed reports say three Indian celebrities who have served as brand ambassadors for Maggi have been named in legal actions against the company, raising the question of whether endorsers can be held liable for misleading claims in advertisements.

06 March 2015

Indian government weighs FDI changes for single-brand retailers

According to a report in India’s Economic Times, the Indian government is considering reforms to simplify the country’s foreign direct investment policies in the retail sector. Among the changes are several that could directly impact trademark counsel for companies looking to establish a retail presence there.

23 January 2015

Validity of plaintiff's trademark registration can be questioned at interlocutory stage

In Lupin Limited v Johnson & Johnson, the Full Bench of the Bombay High Court has held that the court can consider the question of the validity of a registered trademark at the interlocutory stage if the registration is ex facie illegal, fraudulent or shocks the conscience of the court. The decision represents a U-turn in the court’s position in this respect.

11 December 2014

India

In India, the protection of industrial designs is governed by a dynamic legislative framework which is in sync with advances in technology and concomitant international developments. The Designs Act 2000, which repealed and replaced the Designs Act 1911, sets down the statutory framework for the protection of designs and has been in force since May 11 2001.

05 November 2014

Amendment of statement of use in trademark applications now possible

In Intellectual Property Attorneys Association v Union of India, a division bench of the High Court of Delhi has quashed Clause 3 of Office Order No 16, which stated that it is not permissible to request the amendment of the statement of use in a trademark application. The court directed the registrar of trademarks to decide on such requests on a case-by-case basis. This decision will come as a huge relief to trademark applicants.

02 October 2014

Delhi High Court refuses to issue blanket injunction against applications for similar marks

In Diageo Brands BV v Khoday Breweries Ltd, the High Court of Delhi has refused to grant a blanket injunction restraining Khoday Breweries Ltd from applying for trademarks similar to Diageo Brands BV’s marks. Among other things, the court held that such relief, if granted, would lead to an absurd situation.

17 September 2014

Increase in official fees for trademark applications and expedited examination

With effect from August 1 2014, official fees have increased as follows: the fee for filing a trademark application has increased from Rs3,500 to Rs4,000, while the fee for requesting expedited examination has increased from Rs12,500 to Rs20,000. Although the increase relating to expedited examination is unlikely to affect most applicants, the increase in the trademark application fee may affect small entities and individual applicants.

09 September 2014

Amendment of statement of use in trademark application not permissible

The controller general of patents, designs and trademarks has disposed of a representation filed by the Intellectual Property Attorneys Association challenging Clause 3 of Office Order No 16 of the Trademarks Registry, which states that a request for amendment of the statement of use of a trademark application is not permissible. The association argued that the clause was contrary to the provisions of the Trademarks Act.

28 May 2014

Blow to international retailers as Indian minister signals U-turn on FDI in multi-brand retail

Over the past few years, legislation in India has moved to open up the lucrative consumer market to international multi-brand retailers. However, this week the new Indian government signalled its intention to reverse the previous administration’s policy, raising questions for those planning to enter the market – and for the trademark counsel preparing for such entry.

03 March 2014

Trademarks registry revamps its online platform

With India now a member of the Madrid Protocol, it is imperative for the Trademark Office to clear its backlog and speed up its digitisation drive. The office has recently taken several steps to improve its functioning - in particular, it has improved its web portal by introducing several new services for the benefit of brand owners and practitioners.

29 November 2013

Cadbury loses rights in ECLAIRS marks

The Intellectual Property Appellate Board has ordered the removal of Cadbury’s ECLAIRS marks from the register on the ground of non-use, following a petition for removal by ITC Limited, an Indian company with extensive business interests in the confectionery sector. Among other things, the board found that, although Cadbury owned registrations for ECLAIRS in various countries, there was no evidence of use of the marks in India.

11 October 2013

Indian candidate leverages brands but are political associations a good idea for corporates?

It’s clear that Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s candidate for prime minister in India’s 2014 elections, has identified the power of brands. To date he has attracted a number of companies to his cause and, so far, a smartphone called Smart Namo has been launched as well as an action game called Modi Run in which the politician - depicted as a superhero - has to ’win‘ twelve states to emerge triumphant in his quest. While the benefits of attracting brands to a campaign are clear-cut for Modi’s team, the question of whether brand owners themselves should associate with the volatile business of politics is hazier.

11 September 2013

India clarifies sub-brands situation in single-brand retail FDI

India's Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion has clarified the government’s position with regard to foreign single-brand retailers’ sale of ‘sub-brands’. Brand owners expanding their presence in India after the relaxation of foreign direct investment rules should review their trademark strategies to ensure they have adequate protection in place to meet this requirement.

24 July 2013

Gillette fails to remove CHAMPION marks from register

In M/s Gillette India Ltd v M/s Harbans Lal Malhotra & Sons Pvt Ltd, the Intellectual Property Appellate Board has dismissed Gillette's request for removal from the Trademark Register of two CHAMPION marks belonging to M/s Harbans Lal Malhotra & Sons for razor blades and safety razors. The board concluded that Gillette's conduct was not in conformity with international commercial standards.

10 July 2013

India’s franchising industry could be worth $50 billion by 2017

A recent report estimates that the $13.4 billion Indian franchising industry could grow almost fourfold by 2017. The findings suggest vast opportunities for brand owners to take a stake in the country’s booming consumer market – but trademark counsel will have to be vigilant to ensure that brands are protected when entering into franchise relationships.