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The Andhra Perfumery Works joint family Concerns v. Karupakula Suryanarayaniah and Ors. - (High Court of Madras) (23 Aug 1967)

Trading godly good will

MANU/TN/0167/1969

Intellectual Property Rights

Being able to exploit financially intellectual property has been recognised as vital to any country’s success and prosperity. And what prosperity must ensue when your product bears the name of the Hindu deity, ‘Ganesh’. Naming goods (and services) after gods and goddesses may not be an Indian trademark, but certainly few others seem to do it with the same verve and vigour. Needless to say, courts have witnessed such creative enterprise awhile. In 1967, the Madras High Court noted, in submissions against registering ‘Ganesh’ as a trade mark that over 40 traders were using it for the sale of incense and ‘agarbathies’ (incense sticks) in Mysore State alone. However, rather than decline registration to the appellant and consternate on the use of a name steeped in religion, the Court suggested alternative names of the same deity to avoid problems of registration in an already crowded market. Did the Court realize its culpability in the overcrowding? Perhaps not. A short three years previously, the Court had fended off a petition by a trader with a registered mark which comprised ‘Ganesh’ in its title, opposing registration of another which too comprised the same name and a device of the deity. It rejected, first, contentions that Respondent’s use of the term imitated the manner in which the Petitioner used it, and subsequently noted that the word and device ‘Ganesh’ were not common in the market.

In great contrast is the recent ruling of the Supreme Court turning down with a strict “NO” the use of the word ‘Ramayan’ for incense and perfume products, particularly since there were 20 other traders in the same city using it the name for the same products. It follows a trend wherein the legislature and the courts have ordinarily not allowed terms significant to religion be registered solely on the basis of devices and the like, requiring instead sufficient suffixes and prefixes that mitigate the religious significance of the term.

Relevant : Lal Babu Priyadarshi v. Amritpal Singh MANU/SC/1260/2015 The Andhra Perfumery Works, by its Manager S.V. Ananthiah Setty v. The National Flag Perfumery Works, by its Partner K.S. Krishniah Setty and Anr. MANU/TN/0255/1964 The Andhra Perfumery Works joint family Concerns v. Karupakula Suryanarayaniah and Ors. MANU/TN/0167/1969

Tags : TRADE MARK   GANESH   PUBLICI JURIS   RELIGIOUS  

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