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The Concept Of Dilution Of Trademarks

An image is more than just a logo, a design, a slogan, or a memorable image. It's a meticulously crafted personality profile of a person, organization, corporation, item, or service. - Daniel J. Boorstin

Introduction:
A trademark is a unique design, mark, image, symbol, icon, or phrasing connected to a specific commodity for sale to distinguish the merchandise from commodities sold or created by others, designate the creator as the source of the product.

Once authorized, the creator can use the rights legally, and they become his property as well as a legal right to prosecute the infringer. As a result, marks that have been protected are better protected legally.

Meanings:
Mark:
A machine, a header, a tag, a voucher, initials, a signature, a phrase, a letter, an integer, the texture of the goods, the packaging, or any combo of colors;

Collective Mark:
A collective mark is a mark used by members of that group to denote participation in the group or to recognize and differentiate members' merchandise from those of non-members.

Trade Mark:
A mark skilled of being represented graphically and capable of differentiating one person's items and/or services from those of others, which could include the form of the commodities, their packaging, and color combinations;

Doctrine Of Dilution In India:
Trademark Dilution:
The Concept of Dilution of a Trademark is a type of mark violation in which the proprietor through a renowned brand name can avert anyone else from using their mark because it dilutes their individuality or harms their reputation.  In practice, nobody has the right to copy a prominent trademark or to exploit the reputation of a renowned trademark. Dilution protection, on the other hand, seeks to maintain reasonably robust and reputed trademark rights from renouncing their unique alliance with a specific product in the public consciousness.

Within many cases, trademark dilution refers to the illegal use of another's brand name on merchandise that isn't in direct competition with, and only has a passing resemblance to, the trademark owners. For instance, a well-known trademark used by one corporation to refer to manufactured devices may be diluted if it is used by another corporation to refer to processed foods or hair.

The ancient law in India, the Trade and Merchandise Marks Act, 1958, did not address trademark dilution, and it relied on international norms to resolve any disparities emerging from mark similarities. The main goal was to prevent any dilution of the acknowledged marks in the minds of the general public.

Sec 29(1)(2) Trademark violation happens only where the challenged mark is deceptively very closely related to the registered mark. As a result, the "mark similarity" is given a lot of weight.

Sec. 29(4) This section assumes that goods that are unrelated to one another are comparable.

In addition, under Section 29 of the trademark statute, Indian law does not consider trademark rights dilution. As a result, the act only mentions infringement in connection to things that are identical or not comparable. The conundrum of Indian courts is that in reality, Instead of dilution, the term is applied to the common law action of transferring off, Indian courts have frequently concluded that even though a mark is quiet in India, it has a utility to be used for diverse commodities and cannot be prohibited.

The Landmark Case of ITC v Philip Morris Products SA & Ors.
The trademark dilution basis of action in India is well-understood in this instance. A dilution legal action is identified if the following fundamental components are satisfied, according to the High Court, citing section 29(4) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999:
  • The contested mark is deceptively similar to a reputed mark.
  • In India, the reputed mark has a Goodwill.
  • The usage of the contested mark is without justification.
  • The usage of the contested mark amounts to taking unfair advantage of the registered trademark's unique character or repute or is harmful to it.

ITC's loss to Philip Morris was attributed to its usage of the "Namaste" branding on their cigarettes. The High Court noted that not only the use of the Namaste logo alongside the Welcome Group trademark but also the lack of such a design on cigarette packets renders ITC's trademark dilution claim unsustainable.

The trademark dilution legal case cannot exist because ITC never utilized the mark on cigarettes and the ITC brand's fame could not be transferred to mid-to high-priced cigarettes.

There is a gap between Indian and American judicial decisions. The Indian court simply specifies that the marks must have a "reputation in India," whereas, in the United States, the mark must be reputed. A distinction must be drawn between a 'renowned' mark and a 'reputational' mark. Because diluted rights are inherently uncertain, the bar of fame needed to claim them must be high as well.

Exceptions to this concept:
Any reasonable use of a registered trademark by another person, particularly nominative or evocative reasonable use, or enablement of such fair use, other than as a source identifier for the individual's own commodities and/or services, with use in conjunction with other trademarks.
  • Consumers can compare goods and services thanks to marketing or promotions that allow them to do so.
  • Identifying the renowned trademark proprietor the items or services and parodying, ridiculing, or remarking on them.
  • News reporting and analysis in all formats.
  • Any mark that contains satire, criticism, or remarks.
Conclusion:
The power granted to the well-versed trademark owner is known as the concept of dilution. This philosophy will aid in the prevention of fraudulent acts that occur over time as well as the preservation of a company's reputation. These well-known enterprises contribute to our country's GDP growth, and it is the administration's responsibility to defend them against unfair Competition and other deceptive practices. Section 29(4) is a measure that exists in addition to the violation action. The concept of dilution is based on the courts' authority and the conditions they set. To prevent confusion, if a trademark fails to pass the court's standards, it is not authorized in the marketplace.

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