Cos can’t claim irrelevant taglines: Court

14 Dec,2012

By Vishal Dutta

 

A company cannot claim right over the punchline in its logo if it has no relevance with the products, a court in Ahmedabad has ruled last month, reminding of an earlier Pepsi Vs Heinz case, wherein the Delhi High Court disallowed monopoly over words commonly used to describe a product’s character.

 

The latest ruling rejecting injunction appeal came after textile group Ashima sought trademark protection on its slogan Texcellence, inscribed in its logo, and urged the court to restrain a garments company Texcellence Overseas from using it. However, the court said Ashima Group never used the word “Texcellence” for its goods and there was no chance of confusion.

 

In 2010, foods company Heinz won a case against soft drinks-maker Pepsi when the Delhi HC allowed it to adopt words used by Pepsi in the catchline for its sports drink Gatorade. Heinz’s Glucon-D advertisement said “Glucon-D Isotonik rehydrates fluids, replenishes vital salts and recharges glucose’, as against Pepsi’s tagline ‘Rehydrate, Replenish, Refuel’.

 

In 2003, Gujarat-based Ashima alleged infringement by Ahmedabad-based Texcellence Overseas, saying it had originally coined the word “texcellence” from two different words Textile and Excellence. Ashima argued saying the catchline adopted since its inception in 1982 was synonymous with its reputation and goodwill, and Texecellence Overseas merely adopted the trademark in 1996 to confuse the public.

 

Texcellence Overseas pointed out that Ashima did not sell any product with the trademark and that there were no instances of any confusion, according to its lawyer Samrat Mehta. An email query sent to Ashima Group remained unanswered.

 

Abhishek Pandurangi, CEO, Closer2patents, says taglines or punchlines or slogans can be protected by trademark law only if one can show a relevant connection between commercial use of the products and the tagline.

 

Trademark attorney Pranit Nanavati feels Ashima could have registered the word Texcellence separately and not just as part of the logo.

 

Source:The Economic Times

Copyright © 2012, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved

 

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