Engaged in a Waterloo of sorts, the Tata Groups Mount Everest Mineral Water (MEMW) and Bisleri are wrangling over the usage of the trademark’ Himalaya’. As the facts of the case go, MEMW the registered holder of the trademark ‘ Himalaya’ has obtained an interim injunction from the Delhi High Court restraining Bisleri from using its trademark in its packaging. In turn Bisleri has approached the IPAB in Chennai seeking a rectification of the Himlayan trademark on the grounds that the word is a descriptive word that indicates the source, origin and quality of the water. Mount Everest had claimed that it had registered the words Himalaya, Himalayan, Himalayas as trademarks.
Following this, Bisleri had moved the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) to remove the registration of the trade marks Himalaya. The Application further relies on the Geographical Indications of Goods Act 1999 (G.I), stating that the word ‘Himalaya’ bears a geographical connotation and hence comes under seeks the ambit of the G.I Act. The G.I is a collective right that is conferred on a group or community engaged in the manufacture of the product traditionally originating from a specific region, bearing intrinsic characteristics attributable to the geography of a place. Tata Group’s Mount Everest has no exclusive right on the word ‘Himalayan’, the country’s trademark dispute authority said, following a petition from Ramesh Chauhan’s Bisleri International. The registration of the word ‘Himalayan’ does not give exclusive rights to any company to use the term as a trademark for its products, the Intellectual Property Appellate Board, the highest body that deals with trademark-related issues, said in a recent order. The order ends a three-year dispute between Bisleri and Mount Everest in the former’s favour and clears way for packaged water companies to use terms such as ‘Himalaya’ and ‘Himalayan’ for water sourced from the mountains.
In consonance with TRIPS(Article 22.3) Agreement, the Indian Act also sets forth the following with respect to the relationship between trademarks and GIs:
“Where a trade mark contains or consists of a geographical indication and has been applied for or registered in good faith under the law relating to trade marks for the time being in force, or where the rights to such trade mark have been acquired through use in good faith either—
(a) before the commencement of this Act; or
(b) before the date of filing the application for registration of such geographical indication under this Act;
nothing contained in this Act shall prejudice the registrability or the validity of the registration of such mark under the law relating to the trade marks for the time being in force, or the right to use such trade mark, on the ground that such trade mark is identical with or similar to such geographical indication.”
Having registered this name as its trademark the liquor major is now planning to unleash its natural mineral water sourced from the Himalayas.
“We intend launching our natural mineral water in the next few months and as long as it is sourced from the Himalayas we will be using the word Himalaya for our brand.
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“Kingfisher Himalaya Natural water has already been registered as a brand and we will definitely go ahead and use it as long as the source for the mineral water is rightly mentioned,” said a senior UB group official.’ Tata Group’s Mount Everest has no exclusive right on the word ‘Himalayan’, the country’s trademark dispute authority said, following a petition from Ramesh Chauhan’s Bisleri International.
KEYWORDS: Geographical Indication , Trademark