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TRADE MARKS ACT

Ministry of Law and Justice

Act nº 47 of 1999


  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 4
  • Chapter 5
  • Chapter 6
  • Chapter 7
  • Chapter 8
  • Chapter 9
  • Chapter 10
  • Chapter 11
  • Chapter 12
  • Chapter 13
  • Schedules
  • Act nº 47 of 1999

Preamble

[THE TRADE MARKS ACT, 1999]

[Act, No. of 47 of 1999]

[30th December, 1999]

PREAMBLE

An Act to amend and consolidate the law relating to trade marks, to provide for registration and better protection of trade marks for goods and services and for the prevention of the use of fraudulent marks.

Be it enacted by Parliament in the Fiftieth Year of the Republic of India as follows:--

Chapter 1

Section 1. Short title, extent and commencement

(1) This Act may be called the Trade Marks Act, 1999.

(2) It extends to the whole of India.

(3) It shall come into force on such date1 as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint:

Provided that different dates may be appointed for different provisions of this Act, and any reference in any such provision to the commencement of this Act shall be construed as a reference to the coming into force of that provision.

1. 15th September, 2003 vide S.O. 1048 (E), dated 15-9-2003, published in the Gazette of India, Extra., Part II, Section 3(ii), dated 15th September, 2003.


Section 2. Definitions and interpretation

(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise re quires,--

(a) "Appellate Board" means the Appellate Board established under section 83;

(b) "assignment" means an assignment in writing by act of the parties concerned;

(c) "associated trade marks" means trade marks deemed to be, or required to be, registered as associated trade marks under this Act;

(d) "Bench" means a Bench of the Appellate Board;

(e) "certification trade mark" means a mark capable of distinguishing the goods or services in connection with which it is used in the course of trade which are certified by the proprietor of the mark in respect of origin, material, mode of manufacture of goods or performance of services, quality, accuracy or other characteristics from goods or services not so certified and registrable as such under Chapter IX in respect of those goods or services in the name, as proprietor of the certification trade mark, of that person;

(f) "Chairman" means the Chairman of the Appellate Board;

(g) "collective mark" means a trade mark distinguishing the goods or services of members of an association of persons [not being a partnership within the meaning of the Indian Partnership Act, 1932 (9 of 1932)] which is the proprietor of the mark from those of others;

(h) "deceptively similar".--A mark shall be deemed to be deceptively similar to another mark if it so nearly resembles that other mark as to be likely to deceive or cause confusion;

(i) "false trade description" means--

(I) a trade description which is untrue or misleading in a material respect as regards the goods or services to which it is applied; or

(II) any alteration of a trade description as regards the goods or services to which it is applied, whether by way of addition, effacement or otherwise, where that alteration makes the description untrue or misleading in a material respect; or

(III) any trade description which denotes or implies that there are contained, as regards the goods to which it is applied, more yards or metres than there are contained therein standard yards or standard metres; or

(IV) any marks or arrangement or combination thereof when applied--

(a) to goods in such a manner as to be likely to lead persons to believe that the goods are the manufacture or merchandise of some person other than the person whose merchandise or manufacture they really are;

(b) in relation to services in such a manner as to be likely to lead persons to believe that the services are provided or rendered by some person other than the person whose services they really are; or

(V) any false name or initials of a person applied to goods or services in such manner as if such name or initials were a trade description in any case where the name or initials--

(a) is or are not a trade mark or part of a trade mark; and

(b) is or are identical with or deceptively similar to the name or initials of a person carrying on business in connection with goods or services of the same description or both and who has not authorised the use of such name or initials; and

(c) is or are either the name or initials of a fictitious person or some person not bona fide carrying on business in connection with such goods or services,

and the fact that a trade description is a trade mark or part of a trade mark shall not prevent such trade description being a false trade description within the meaning of this Act;

(j) "goods" means anything which is the subject of trade or manufacture;

(k) "Judicial Member" means a Member of the Appellate Board appointed as such under this Act, and includes the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman;

(l) "limitations" (with its grammatical variations) means any limitation of the exclusive right to the use of a trade mark given by the registration of a person as proprietor thereof, including limitations of that right as to mode or area of use within India or outside India;

(m) "mark" includes a device, brand, heading, label, ticket, name, signature, word, letter, numeral, shape of goods, packaging or combination of colours or any combination thereof;

(n) "Member" means a Judicial Member or a Technical Member of the Appellate Board and includes the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman;

(o) "name" includes any abbreviation of a name;

(p) "notify" means to notify in the Trade Mark Journal published by the Registrar;

(q) "package" includes any case, box, container, covering, folder, receptacle, vessel, casket, bottle, wrapper, label, band, ticket, reel, frame, capsule, cap, lid, stopper and cork;

(r) "permitted use", in relation to a registered trade mark, means the use of trade mark--

(i) by a registered user of the trade mark in relation to goods or services--

(a) with which he is connected in the course of trade; and

(b) in respect of which the trade mark remains registered for the time being; and

(c) for which he is registered as registered user; and

(d) which complies with any conditions or limitations to which the registration of registered user is subject; or

(ii) by a person other than the registered proprietor and registered user in relation to goods or services--

(a) with which he is connected in the course of trade; and

(b) in respect of which the trade mark remains registered for the time being; and

(c) by consent of such registered proprietor in a written agreement; and

(d) which complies with any conditions or limitations to which such user is subject and to which the registration of the trade mark is subject;

(s) "prescribed" means prescribed by rules made under this Act;

(t) "register" means the Register of Trade Marks referred to in sub-section (1) of section 6;

(u) "registered" (with its grammatical variations) means registered under this Act;

(v) "registered proprietor", in relation to a trade mark, means the person for the time being entered in the register as proprietor of the trade mark;

(w) "registered trade mark" means a trade mark which is actually on the register and remaining in force;

(x) "registered user" means a person who is for the time being registered as such under section 49;

(y) "Registrar" means the Registrar of Trade Marks referred to in section 3;

(z) "service" means service of any description which is made available to potential users and includes the provision of services in connection with business of any industrial or commercial matters such as banking, communication, education, financing, insurance, chit funds, real estate, transport, storage, material treatment, processing, supply of electrical or other energy, boarding, lodging, entertainment, amusement, construction, repair, conveying of news or information and advertising;

(za) "trade description" means any description, statement or other indication, direct or indirect,--

(i) as to the number, quantity, measure, gauge or weight of any goods; or

(ii) as to the standard of quality of any goods or services according to a classification commonly used or recognised in the trade; or

(iii) as to fitness for the purpose, strength, performance or behaviour of any goods, being "drug" as defined in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 (23 of 1940), or "food" as defined in the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (37 of 1954); or

(iv) as to the place or country in which or the time at which any goods or services were made, produced or provided, as the case may be; or

(v) as to the name and address or other indication of the identity of the manufacturer or of the person providing the services or of the person for whom the goods are manufactured or services are provided; or

(vi) as to the mode of manufacture or producing any goods or providing services; or

(vii) as to the material of which any goods are composed; or

(viii) as to any goods being the subject of an existing patent, privilege or copyright,

and includes--

(a) any description as to the use of any mark which according to the custom of the trade is commonly taken to be an indication of any of the above matters;

(b) the description as to any imported goods contained in any bill of entry or shipping bill;

(c) any other description which is likely to be misunderstood or mistaken for all or any of the said matters;

(zb) "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; and--

(i) in relation to Chapter XII (other than section 107), a registered trade mark or a mark used in relation to goods or services for the purpose of indicating or so as to indicate a connection in the course of trade between the goods or services, as the case may be, and some person having the right as proprietor to use the mark; and

(ii) in relation to other provisions of this Act, a mark used or proposed to be used in relation to goods or services for the purpose of indicating or so to indicate a connection in the course of trade between the goods or services, as the case may be, and some person having the right, either as proprietor or by way of permitted user, to use the mark whether with or without any indication of the identity of that person, and includes a certification trade mark or collective mark;

(zc) "transmission" means transmission by operation of law, devolution on the personal representative of a deceased person and any other mode of transfer, not being assignment;

(zd) "Technical Member" means a Member who is not a Judicial Member;

(ze) "tribunal" means the Registrar or, as the case may be, the Appellate Board, before which the proceeding concerned is pending;

(zf) "Vice-Chairman" means a Vice-Chairman of the Appellate Board;

(zg) "well-known trade mark", in relation to any goods or services, means a mark which has become so to the substantial segment of the public which uses such goods or receives such services that the use of such mark in relation to other goods or services would be likely to be taken as indicating a connection in the course of trade or rendering of services between those goods or services and a person using the mark in relation to the first-mentioned goods or services.

(2) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, any reference--

(a) to "trade mark" shall include reference to "collective mark" or "certification trade mark";

(b) to the use of a mark shall be construed as a reference to the use of printed or other visual representation of the mark;

(c) to the use of a mark,--

(i) in relation to goods, shall be construed as a reference to the use of the mark upon, or in any physical or in any other relation whatsoever, to such goods;

(ii) in relation to services, shall be construed as a reference to the use of the mark as or as part of any statement about the availability, provision or performance of such services;

(d) to the Registrar shall be construed as including a reference to any officer when discharging the functions of the Registrar in pursuance of sub-section (2) of section 3;

(e) to the Trade Marks Registry shall be construed as including a reference to any office of the Trade Marks Registry.

(3) For the purposes of this Act, goods and services are associated with each other if it is likely that those goods might be sold or otherwise traded in and those services might be provided by the same business and so with descriptions of goods and descriptions of services.

(4) For the purposes of this Act, "existing registered trade mark" means a trade mark registered under the Trade and Merchandise Marks Act, 1958 (43 of 1958) immediately before the commencement of this Act.

Chapter 2

Section 3. Appointment of Registrar and other officers

(1) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint a person to be known as the Controller-General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks, who shall be the Registrar of Trade Marks for the purposes of this Act.

(2) The Central Government may appoint such other officers with such designations as it thinks fit for the purpose of discharging, under the superintendence and direction of the Registrar, such functions of the Registrar under this Act as he may from time to time authorise them to discharge.

Section 4. Power of Registrar to withdraw or transfer cases, etc.

Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of sub-section (2) of section 3, the Registrar may, by order in writing and for reasons to be recorded therein, withdraw any matter pending before an officer appointed under the said sub-section (2) and deal with such matter himself either de novo or from the stage it was so withdrawn or transfer the same to another officer so appointed who may, subject to special directions in the order of transfer, proceed with the matter either de novo or from the stage it was so transferred.

Section 5. Trade Marks Registry and offices thereof

(1) For the purposes of this Act, there shall be a trade marks registry and the Trade Marks Registry established under the Trade and Merchandise Marks Act, 1958 (43 of 1958) shall be the Trade Marks Registry under this Act.

(2) The head office of the Trade Marks Registry shall be at such place as the Central Government may specify, and for the purpose of facilitating the registration of trade marks, there may be established at such places as the Central Government may think fit branch offices of the Trade Marks Registry.

(3) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, define the territorial limits within which an office of the Trade Marks Registry may exercise its functions.

(4) There shall be a seal of the Trade Marks Registry.

Section 6. The Register of Trade Marks

(1) For the purposes of this Act, a record called the Register of Trade Marks shall be kept at the head office of the Trade Marks Registry, wherein shall be entered all registered trade marks with the names, addresses and description of the proprietors, notifications of assignment and transmissions, the names, addresses and descriptions of registered users, conditions, limitations and such other matter relating to registered trade marks as may be prescribed.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-Section (1), it shall be lawful for the Registrar to keep the records wholly or partly in computer floppies, diskettes or in any other electronic form subject to such safeguards as may be prescribed.

(3) Where such register is maintained wholly or partly on computer under subsection (2) any reference in this Act to entry in the register shall be construed as the reference to any entry as maintained on computer or in any other electronic form.

(4) No notice of any trust, express or implied or constructive, shall be entered in the register and no such notice shall be receivable by the Registrar.

(5) The register shall be kept under the control and management of the Registrar.

(6) There shall be kept at each branch office of the Trade Marks Registry a copy of the register and such of the other documents mentioned in section 148 as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, direct.

(7) The Register of Trade Marks, both Part A and Part B, existing at the commencement of this Act, shall be incorporated in and form part of the register under this Act.

Section 7. Classification of goods and services

(1) The Registrar shall classify goods and services, as far as may be, in accordance with the International classification of goods and services for the purposes of registration of trade marks.

(2) Any question arising as to the class within which any goods or services falls shall be determined by the Registrar whose decision shall be final.

Section 8. Publication of alphabetical index

(1) The Registrar may publish in the prescribed manner an alphabetical index of classification of goods and services referred to in section 7.

(2) Where any goods or services are not specified in the alphabetical index of goods and services published under sub-section (1), the classification of goods or services shall be determined by the Registrar in accordance with sub-section (2) of section 7.

Section 9. Absolute grounds for refusal of registration

(1) The trade marks--

(a) which are devoid of any distinctive character, that is to say, not capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one person from those of another person;

(b) which consist exclusively of marks or indications which may serve in trade to designate the kind, quality, quantity, intended purpose, values, geographical origin or the time of production of the goods or rendering of the service or other characteristics of the goods or service;

(c) which consist exclusively of marks or indications which have become customary in the current language or in the bona fide and established practices of the trade,

shall not be registered :

Provided that a trade mark shall not be refused registration if before the date of application for registration it has acquired a distinctive character as a result of the use made of it or is a well-known trade mark.

(2) A mark shall not be registered as a trade mark if--

(a) it is of such nature as to deceive the public or cause confusion;

(b) it contains or comprises of any matter likely to hurt the religious susceptibilities of any class or section of the citizens of India;

(c) it comprises or contains scandalous or obscene matter;

(d) its use is prohibited under the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950 (12 of 1950).

(3) A mark shall not be registered as a trade mark if it consists exclusively of--

(a) the shape of goods which results from the nature of the goods themselves; or

(b) the shape of goods which is necessary to obtain a technical result; or

(c) the shape which gives substantial value to the goods.

Explanation.--For the purposes of this section, the nature of goods or services in relation to which the trade mark is used or proposed to be used shall not be a ground for refusal of registration.

Section 10. Limitation as to colour

(1) A trade mark may be limited wholly or in part to any combination of colours and any such limitation shall be taken into consideration by the tribunal having to decide on the distinctive character of the trade mark.

(2) So far as a trade mark is registered without limitation of colour, it shall be deemed to be registered for all colours.

Section 11. Relative grounds for refusal of registration

(1) Save as provided in section 12, a trade mark shall not be registered if, because of--

(a) its identity with an earlier trade mark and similarity of goods or services covered by the trade mark; or

(b) its similarity to an earlier trade mark and the identity or similarity of the goods or services covered by the trade mark,

there exists a likelihood of confusion on the part of the public, which includes the likelihood of association with the earlier trade mark.

(2) A trade mark which--

(a) is identical with or similar to an earlier trade mark; and

(b) is to be registered for goods or services which are not similar to those for which the earlier trade mark is registered in the name of a different proprietor,

shall not be registered, if or to the extent, the earlier trade mark is a well-known trade mark in India and the use of the later mark without due cause would take unfair advantage of or be detrimental to the distinctive character or repute of the earlier trade mark.

(3) A trade mark shall not be registered if, or to the extent that, its use in India is liable to be prevented--

(a) by virtue of any law in particular the law of passing off protecting an unregistered trade mark used in the course of trade; or

(b) by virtue of law of copyright.

(4) Nothing in this section shall prevent the registration of a trade mark where the proprietor of the earlier trade mark or other earlier right consents to the registration, and in such case the Registrar may register the mark under special circumstances under section 12.

Explanation.--For the purposes of this section, earlier trade mark means--

(a) a registered trade mark or convention application referred to in section 154 which has a date of application earlier than that of the trade mark in question, taking account, where appropriate, of the priorities claimed in respect of the trade marks;

(b) a trade mark which, on the date of the application for registration of the trade mark in question, or where appropriate, of the priority claimed in respect of the application, was entitled to protection as a well-known trade mark.

(5) A trade mark shall not be refused registration on the grounds specified in subsections (2) and (3), unless objection on any one or more of those grounds is raised in opposition proceedings by the proprietor of the earlier trade mark.

(6) The Registrar shall, while determining whether a trade mark is a well-known trade mark, take into account any fact which he considers relevant for determining a trade mark as a well-known trade mark including--

(i) the knowledge or recognition of that trade mark in the relevant section of the public including knowledge in India obtained as a result of promotion of the trade mark;

(ii) the duration, extent and geographical area of any use of that trade mark;

(iii) the duration, extent and geographical area of any promotion of the trade mark, including advertising or publicity and presentation, at fairs or exhibition of the goods or services to which the trade mark applies;

(iv) the duration and geographical area of any registration of or any application for registration of that trade mark under this Act to the extent they reflect the use or recognition of the trade mark;

(v) the record of successful enforcement of the rights in that trade mark; in particular, the extent to which the trade mark has been recognised as a well-known trade mark by any court or Registrar under that record.

(7) The Registrar shall, while determining as to whether a trade mark is known or recognised in a relevant section of the public for the purposes of sub-section (6), take into account--

(i) the number of actual or potential consumers of the goods or services;

(ii) the number of persons involved in the channels of distribution of the goods or services;

(iii) the business circles dealing with the goods or services, to which that trade mark applies.

(8) Where a trade mark has been determined to be well-known in at least one relevant section of the public in India by any court or Registrar, the Registrar shall consider that trade mark as a well-known trade mark for registration under this Act.

(9) The Registrar shall not require as a condition, for determining whether a trade mark is a well-known trade mark, any of the following, namely:--

(i) that the trade mark has been used in India;

(ii) that the trade mark has been registered;

(iii) that the application for registration of the trade mark has been filed in India;

(iv) that the trade mark--

(a) is well known in; or

(b) has been registered in; or

(c) in respect of which an application for registration has been filed in, any jurisdiction other than India; or

(v) that the trade mark is well-known to the public at large in India.

(10) While considering an application for registration of a trade mark and opposition filed in respect thereof, the Registrar shall--

(i) protect a well-known trade mark against the identical or similar trade marks;

(ii) take into consideration the bad faith involved either of the applicant or the opponent affecting the right relating to the trade mark.

(11) Where a trade mark has been registered in good faith disclosing the material informations to the Registrar or where right to a trade mark has been acquired through use in good faith before the commencement of this Act, then, nothing in this Act shall prejudice the validity of the registration of that trade mark or right to use that trade mark on the ground that such trade mark is identical with or similar to a well-known trade mark.

Section 12. Registration in the case of honest concurrent use, etc.

In the case of honest concurrent use or of other special circumstances which in the opinion of the Registrar, make it proper so to do, he may permit the registration by more than one proprietor of the trade marks which are identical or similar (whether any such trade mark is already registered or not) in respect of the same or similar goods or services, subject to such conditions and limitations, if any, as the Registrar may think fit to impose.