Slogans are powerful tools of communication that convey a message in a simple, memorable, and effective way. They are used by companies, political parties, and non-profit organizations to create brand awareness and promote their products, services, or ideologies. In India, slogans have played a significant role in shaping public opinion and have become an integral part of the country’s cultural fabric. However, the question remains, can slogans be trademarked in India?
The Importance of Saga of Slogans in India
Slogans have been a part of India’s advertising landscape for decades. They are used to create a unique identity for a brand and to differentiate it from its competitors. For example, “Think different” for Apple, “Just do it” for Nike, and “Because you’re worth it” for L’Oréal. In India, slogans have been used in political campaigns, social causes, and religious movements as well. For example, “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan” was a slogan used during the India-Pakistan War of 1965, and “Jai Hind” is a patriotic slogan used to express love and support for the nation.
Slogans have a profound impact on the Indian consumer, as they are often used to connect with the emotions and values of the target audience. They are also used to create a sense of belonging and to promote a sense of national pride. The effectiveness of slogans in India can be attributed to the country’s diverse culture and the significant role that emotions and values play in decision-making.
The Legal Aspects of Trademarking Slogans in India
The legal aspect of trademarking slogans in India is governed by the Indian Trade Marks Act, 1999, and the rules and regulations established by the Trade Marks Registry. According to the Act, a trademark is defined as a mark capable of being represented graphically and which is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one person from those of others.
In order to be eligible for trademark registration, a slogan must meet the following criteria:
It must be capable of being represented graphically.
Must be capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one person from those of others
It should not be similar or identical to an existing trademark
It should not be descriptive or generic
In India, slogans are considered as ‘service marks’ under the trademark act, and can be registered under class 35 which covers advertising and business services. However, it is essential to note that slogans that are used in political campaigns or religious movements are not eligible for trademark registration as they are considered as public slogans and are not associated with any particular individual or organization.
In addition, slogans that are considered as generic or descriptive in nature are not eligible for trademark registration. For example, a slogan such as “Best quality at the best price” would be considered as descriptive and not eligible for trademark registration.
ENFORCEMENT OF SLOGANS MARKS IN INDIA:
Brands are now constantly resorting to innovative ideas and methods to be able to generate awareness about their brand and be at par with the growing competition in the market. To qualify as a protectable mark, slogans have to fulfill two criteria:
- It must be distinctive and unique.
- It should have developed a secondary meaning to itself owing to its long-term usage so as, such slogans immediately correlate with a product or service of a brand.
Yes, saga of slogans in India are made up of common terms and are descriptive in nature, therefore they less likely to be accepted as trademarks. The pleadings taken by brand owners are – acquired distinctiveness, attainment of secondary meaning Prior Use and all this has to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
Anchor marketed its product using the expression ‘Allround protection’ These words were held to be non-descriptive as they connoted the peculiar quality of the product. Such slogans or taglines in advertisements grab attention more than the products themselves. Hence P & G was refrained from using the brand “All-Around Protection”.
The Court held that the words Shauq and Swad are not similar and the two slogans are commonly used Hindi phrases and hence there is confusion with respect to those slogans. The court ordered that there was no irreparable damage to the goodwill of the plaintiff.
- Race for the Complete Man: Raymond Limited v. Radhika Export & Anr.
The Court held that it was a clear case of infringement and passing off as the Raymond Company had adopted the tagline, THE COMPLETE MAN, for more than 9 decades now. Court said Raymond has gained reputation and goodwill over the years. Thus, Radhika exports were restricted from using a similar marks.
The Court held that advertising slogans are prima facie not protectable under copyright law and may instead be protected under the law of passing-off.
The Court stated that “It has to be established by the person claiming the benefit of distinctive usage that over a period of time the slogan has developed a secondary meaning and a goodwill.” “I AM WHAT I AM” failed to prove acquired any distinctive character.
In conclusion, saga of slogans in India can be trademarked under certain conditions. They must be capable of being represented graphically, must be capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one person from those of others, should not be similar or identical to an existing trademark, and should not be descriptive or generic. However, it is important to note that slogans used in political campaigns or religious movements are not eligible for trademark registration as they are considered as public slogans. Trademark registration of slogans is crucial to protect the brand and the reputation of the company.