February 2011 – Order by Indian Trademark Office
In a recent decision, India Trademarks Registry has held that the word ‘Manjal' is a generic name and therefore cannot be registered under Section 9(1) (b) of the Trademarks Act.
Ms N. D. Kasturi, Deputy Registrar of Trade Marks, at the Trademarks Registry, Chennai, in the interest of the public and purity of the Register of Trademarks, by an order has caused the removal of the entry “MANJAL” from the Register.
M/s.Oriental Extractions a healthcare products had sought the registration of the trademark MANJAL in 2002. The rectification application for their trademark MANJAL was filed by Mr.Siva Subramaniyam.
In 2007, an application for registration of trademark AYUR MANJAL was filed by Mr S. Siva Subramaniyam of Divine Pharmaceuticals, another Kerala-based small-scale manufacturer of herbal bathing soap. The applicant realised that applications for trademarks MANJAL, MARICOS MANJAL, MARICO’S MANJAL.
MARICO filed and obtained an interim injunction before the Delhi High Court to prevent Divine Pharmaceuticals from using the word MANJAL. This precipitated the seizure of Divine Pharma’s goods from the market thereby forcing them to file an application for revocation of the trademark.
The Deputy Registrar in the order has noted that the trademark MANJAL is a transliteration of a commonly used word in Tamil and Malayalam languages for the product Turmeric.
The mark MANJAL in respect of a ‘bathing soap' has got a direct reference to the character and quality of the goods and is highly descriptive.
No right to exclusive use of MANJAL
Given the above, no particular proprietor can claim an exclusive right to use of MANJAL as a trade mark since the word is considered common to the particular trade. The extensive use of the trademark and huge advertisement cannot make it registerable, the order said. Also, no amount of use will either confer on it a secondary meaning, especially the use in relation to a soap where the main ingredient is Manjal, the order said.