Bombay High Court on Friday in a case of ISKCON Vs Iskcon apparel Pvt. Ltd. and Anr. has held that the registered Trademark of ISKCON is a well known Trademark of India which is a mark of religious organization international society for krishna consciousness.

Well known trademarks enjoy broader protections than ordinary trademarks, in view of their widespread reputation and recognition.

Justice BP Colabawalla, on June 26th found merit in ISKCON’s plea for recognising its trademark as a well known mark, given that the said mark has come to enjoy a personality beyond the scope of mere products/services rendered under the trademark ISKCON.

Plaintiff’s trademark ISKCON satisfies all the requirements and tests of a well known trademark as contained in section 11(7) and other provisions of the Trademark ACt, 1999. In view thereof, I find no difficulty in holding that the plaintiff’s trademark ISKCON is a well known trademark in India within the meaning provided in sections 2(1)(zg) of the Trademarks Act, 1999.”

The Judge observed that when ISKCON name comes it is quite familiar name and it is clear in the mind that ISKCON enjoys a personality that is beyond the mere products/services rendered thereunder and the recognition, reputation and goodwill of the said trademark ISKCON is today no longer restricted to any particular class of goods or services.

Advocate Hiren Kamod, appeared for ISKCON recounted that the mark was conceptualized by fashioning an acronym out of name given for the Krishna consciousness movement founded by AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada at New York, 1966 i.e. the international society for Krishna consciousness.

He further submits that the movement has been using the ISKCON trademark regularly, openly, continuously, uninterruptedly and extensively in respect of various goods and services since 1971 at least, with a view to distinguish the goods and services bearing the said mark ISKCON from those of others.

When legal proceedings were going on against ISKCON trademark, then also it was diligently safeguarded by the hon’ble court against the misuse of the well known mark “ISKCON”. 

As such it was contended that ISKCON fulfilled all the conditions outlined unders section 11(6) and (7) of the Trademarks ACt, 1999. To be recognized as a well known mark.

There was a trademark infringement suit that was initiated against ISKCON apparel Pvt. ltd. the above arguments or submissions were made in the court. The court However informed that the defendant has since changed its trade name to Alcis Sports Pvt. Ltd. further undertook to refrain from using the trademark or name of ISKCON in any matter whatsoever.

Additionally the defendant does not dispute that the submissions that were made by the opponent at “ISKCON” deserved recognition and has a well known mark.

Under these proceedings the court held and allowed the plaintiff’s prayer to recognize its brand ISKCON a well known mark, while noting that there was sufficient material showing that this mark had acquired immense and long standing reputation and goodwill throughout India and abroad.

The court held that-

“From the material placed on record, it is evident that (a) the plaintiff’s trademark ISKCONhas wide acceptability (b) the popularity of the plaintiff’s trademark ISKCON extends not only in India but in other countries as well, (c) the plaintiff is using its trademark “ISKCON” openly, widely and continuously since the beginning and, (d) the Plaintiff has taken several actions against various infringers in the past”. (the Order Notes) 

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