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Friday, January 17, 2014

Swarovsky.... Crystal Glamour and Q on Padayappa

Swarovski AG is an Austrian producer of luxury cut lead glass ('crystal'), headquartered in Wattens.  They make plated jewellry too, which perhaps might adorn your showcase.  They are in news is what is this post is about …..

Before that a Q on a Rajnikant film… - Padayappa, was directed by KS Ravikumar; starred Soundarya & Ramya Krishnan with Rajini;  background score was  by AR Rahman; it was the last film for Sivaji Ganesan. (Looks like all possible Questions over ?)…….. here is the Q :   - The producer Thenappan registered the ‘stylised Padayappa design’  as a Class 34 trademark in 1998 for some goods, making it to be first instance of brand extention in Tamil film industry ?  Can you tell what the brands were ?

As one would know, Indian trademark law statutorily protects trademarks as per the Trademark Act, 1999 and also under the common law.   The Trade Marks registry comes under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The law of trademark deals with the mechanism of registration, protection of trademark and prevention of fraudulent trademark. According to the Trade Marks Act, 1999, “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.” A mark can include a device, brand, heading, label, ticket, name, signature, word, letter, numeral, shape of goods, packaging or combination of colors or any such combinations.

Had earlier posted one on a trademark spat – whence word 'ungoogleable' removed from Swedish….. it is common to hear people saying that ‘googled’ a certain thing….representing something of a search made using google search engine.  BBC reported that the  word "ungoogleable" had to be  removed from a list of new Swedish words after a trademark spat.  The spat between Google Inc and the Language Council of Sweden raised the question of just what "ungoogleable" meant.  

Now TOI reports of an instance where the International Swarovski had to drop a trademark as having infringed another knitworks manufacturer from our own Tirupur.  Though they chose to write it as ‘an innocuous knitter’ from Tirupur humbling Australian jewellery unit….. the firm Crystal Knitters are known in their own way and raised only right objections.  

The report states that facing stiff objection from the Tirupur-based Crystal Knitters, Swarovski gave up its claim over the brand name Crystal Glamour, registered for clothing, footwear and headgear. While the Tirupur company had been using its brand name for more than three decades, the Austrian fashion giant got registration for a similar-sounding brand, CrystalGlamour,only in 2005.

Now, however, Swarovski has written to the IPAB that it is not interested in the registration, which lapsed in 2013, and that the Tirupur company be allowed to enjoy the commercial goodwill it had built on a brand, Crystal Knitters. In 2007, Crystal Knitters, filed a complaint before the IPAB contesting Swarovski’s use of the word ‘Crystal’. The company said it had been using the mark since 1971. The mark ‘Crystal’ had acquired reputation and goodwill because of prior adoption and continuoususeof the mark. It claimed Swarovski had obtained the registration “by playing fraud, concealment of fact and misrepresentation. The trademark ‘CrystalGlamour’ was neither distinctive nor capable of being distinguished,” said Crystal Knitters, adding the mark had not been used for more than five years.

When IPAB served the notice on Swarovski, the firm, instead of filing a counter, sent a letter stating it was “no more interested in the registration.” It said the registration had lapsed in 2013 and the “proprietor had no interest in reviving it.” It also asked the board to allow the petition of Crystal Knitters. A bench consisting of Vicechairman S Usha and technical member Sanjeev Kumar Chaswal then directed the registry of trade marks to remove the mark‘ Crystal Glamour’.

The way Swarovski responded to the issue also needs to be appreciated….. The photo that you see at the start of the post  is a trademark approved for a detergent brand – under class 3…..  the producer of ‘Padayappa’ - Thenappan registered the ‘stylised Padayappa design’ as a Class 34 trademark in 1998 for  - : Beedi, cigarettes, tobacco and cheroots for which class 34 is the no.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

17th Jan 2o14.

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