Offences and Penalties under The Trademarks Act, 1999

                  The term trademark refers to a single word, phrase, design, symbol, or sign that a company uses to legally differentiate its goods, products, or services from that of other companies or enterprises. For example, the social media company Facebook has only the letter “f” in its logo. When someone looks at the logo, it is simple to understand that it is Facebook indeed and not any other platform. The logo is one of their globalized valuable assets and they use it to differentiate their platform from other social media sites. Section 2 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999, states the following:-

“trade mark” means a mark capable of being represented graphically and which is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one person from those of others and may include shape of goods, their packaging and combination of colours;

Section 114 specifies the offences committed by companies under the act. If a company creates a trademark that is closely similar to the same, of another company, and it creates confusion among consumers, if not prove their innocence or their unawareness, they will be deemed to be guilty of Trademark Infringement and are liable to be penalised accordingly. 

Penalties for Trademark Infringement:-

  1. Section 103: If a person is found to falsify any pre-existing trademarks or trade descriptions and applies to their own goods or services, they are to be punished with imprisonment for a term of six months to three years, along with a fine of fifty thousand rupees to two lakh rupees.
  2. Section 104: The same punishment mentioned right above would be awarded to a person if he is found to sell, hire goods or services to which false trade marks or descriptions are applied.
  3. Section 105: If a person previously convicted of the offences prescribed in sections 103 and 104 is again found guilty for those offences, he will be punishable for every subsequent offence with a jail term of one year to three years and a fine from one lakh extending upto two lakhs.
  4. Section 106: If any person removes or attempts to remove for sale from any premises referred to in section 81, or sells or exposes for sale or has in his possession for sale or for any purpose of trade or manufacture piece goods or cotton yarn or cotton thread that is not marked as required by that section, every such piece and every such bundle of yarn and all such thread, as well as everything used for the packing thereof, shall be forfeited to the Government and will be fined up to one thousand rupees.
  5. Section 107: No person is allowed to make a false representation of a trademark as legally registered, and if found to be guilty, he will be punished with imprisonment for up to three years or asked to pay a fine or sometimes even both.
  6. Section 108: If a person is found to mislead that his place of business is in official connection with the Trade Marks Office, he will be punishable with a jail term extending up to two years, or with a fine, or both.
  7. Section 109: If a person falsely makes entries in the register, then he shall be punished with imprisonment extending to two years, with a fine, or both.

Famous Case Laws:-

  1. Coca-Cola Company vs. Bisleri International Pvt Ltd: In this case, the plaintiff made a contention that the defendant had infringed their trademark within and outside the territorial jurisdiction where the brand trades in. The defendant was found to use the trademark MAAZA outside India. But the court held that the proprietor possesses and retains all rights to the trademark. The court has issued an interim injunction against the defendant, ordering them to cease all manufacture and use of the Trademark MAAZA with immediate effect because they no longer have any rights to the trademark after signing the Deed of Assignment with the plaintiff.
  2. Sony Corporation vs. K. Selvamurthy: In this case, the defendant Mr. Selvamurthy was running a travel business named Sony Tours and Travels. The plaintiff, Sony Corporation filed a suit of trademark infringement against the business claiming that the business is taking unfair advantage of its reputation. The Court came to a decision that since Sony Corporation’s business is restricted to electronics and media, as opposed to the Defendant’s tours and trips business, the defendant hadn’t taken any advantage of their reputation or fame. The Court further observed that Defendant’s use of the name “Sony” did not seem to cause misunderstandings among the consumer. It further noted Plaintiff’s excessive delay in reaching the Court and awarded the Defendants costs of Rs. 25,000/-

References:-

  1. https://legislative.gov.in/sites/default/files/A1999-47_0.pdf
  2. https://www.bananaip.com/ip-news-center/important-indian-trademark-cases-2021/
  3. https://lawcirca.com/the-coca-cola-company-vs-bisleri-international-pvt-ltd-20-october-2009/ 

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING IN THE SAME, DO LET ME KNOW.

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The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at secondinnings.hr@gmail.com

In the year 2021, we wrote about 1000 Inspirational Women In India, in the year 2022, we would be featuring 5000 Start Up Stories.

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