“Khadi” is a generally known expression for hand-spun and hand-woven Indian fabric. It holds historic significance for its role in India’s freedom struggle. Over the years, it has become a symbol of Indian textile heritage and has evolved in fashion.
The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is an Indian statutory body established to plan, promote, organize, and assist in the establishment and development of Khadi and village industries globally. The KVIC is the registered proprietor of more than 100 trademark registrations, including the symbol of “Charkha,” both in India and other countries. However, these trademarks and symbols have on multiple occasions been misused by others for their benefits.
The Press Information Bureau, Government of India, Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises issued a press release on January 22, 2020, highlighting KVIC’s initiatives to prevent misuse of its trademarks internationally.
These initiatives noted how KVIC has been fighting cases in several countries for violation of the Khadi Mark Regulations 2013. These regulations empower KVIC to grant a “Khadi Mark” registration and request fees for using the Khadi Mark.
As per the press release, for the first time, KVIC has taken up this issue with the Ministry of External Affairs, the Ministry of Commerce, and the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, seeking international trademark protection of their Charkha symbol under the Article 6ter of the Paris Convention.
Article 6ter of the Paris Convention protects armorial bearings, flags, and other state emblems, as well as official signs and hallmarks of the member states. The signs published with the World Intellectual Property Organization under this Act are prevented from being registered or used as trademarks without authorization across the world.
KVIC has recently issued notices against 600 entities in India (including three entities in the international market) for misusing its symbols and indulging in unfair trade practices in the recent past.
It will be interesting to see how KVIC’s ongoing initiatives unfold, with backing of the Indian government, in its fight to prevent misuse of its trademarks. If these initiatives materialize, this will empower and give a massive boost to KVIC to enforce its intellectual property rights internationally and deter private players from misusing KVIC’s marks and symbols without seeking prior requisite approvals.
Contributor to present post is Abhilasha.
“This article was written by Abhilasha for first publication in the INTA Bulletin. It has been reprinted with permission from the International Trademark Association (INTA).”
You may also read this directly on INTA’s website over here – https://www.inta.org/perspectives/india-khadi-takes-measures-to-protect-its-trademark-globally/
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