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Use of Modified Label and Non-Use of Registered Trademark

In cases where registered trademarks are not used, interested parties may seek rectification on grounds of non-use. This article examines a recent case involving a petition for the rectification of a registered trademark, GOLD WINNER Label, on the basis of non-use in the context of use of modified version of registered Trademark and analyzes the court's decision in light of relevant legal principles.

Background of the Case:
The subject matter of the case pertains to a petition seeking the rectification of the registered trademark GOLD WINNER Label under Registration No. 1232740 in Class 30, specifically in relation to toor dal, dal varieties, and other goods in Class 30. The petitioner invoked the ground of non-use to challenge the validity of the registered trademark on this fact that the registered proprietor was not using the Label which was registered as Trademark, but instead it was using a modified version of the registered Trademark .

Petitioner's Argument:
The petitioner contended that the use of a substantially altered trademark is tantamount to non-use of the registered trademark. To support this argument, the petitioner relied on findings from a connected suit proceeding, where it was determined that the respondent had not proven the use of the registered label mark and had instead used a modified version of the trademark.

Court's Analysis and Decision:
The court rejected the petitioner's argument, emphasizing that the mere fact that the respondent used a modified version of the trademark does not automatically establish non-use of the registered trademark. The court's decision suggests a nuanced interpretation of the concept of non-use in trademark law.

Substantial Alteration Vs. Non-Use:
The court's rejection of the petitioner's argument underscores the distinction between substantial alteration of a trademark and non-use. While a substantial alteration may impact the distinctiveness of a mark, it does not necessarily equate to non-use. Trademark law recognizes that minor modifications to a mark may occur over time without necessarily constituting abandonment or non-use.

Trademark rectification on grounds of non-use presents complex legal issues that require careful analysis of the factual circumstances and relevant legal principles. The court's decision in the case of GOLD WINNER Label highlights the importance of distinguishing between substantial alterations to a trademark and genuine non-use.

Case Title: Kaleesuwari Refinery Pvt. Ltd. Vs .Rathinasamy Gomathy and Ors
Order Date: 24.01.2024
Case No. (ORA/9/2018/TM/CHN)
Neutral Citation:2024:MHC:5931
Name of Court: Madras High Court
Name of Hon'ble Judge: Mr. Senthil Kumar Ramamoorthy, H.J.

Ideas, thoughts, views, information, discussions and interpretation expressed herein are being shared in the public Interest. Readers' discretion is advised as these are subject to my subjectivity and may contain human errors in perception, interpretation and presentation of the fact and issue involved herein.

Written By: Advocate Ajay Amitabh Suman, IP Adjutor - Patent and Trademark Attorney
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9990389539

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