Move to Protect Khadi Trademark

Khadi IndustryThe Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has moved to quickly register ‘khadi’ as a ‘wordmark’ to prevent others from using ‘khadi’ trademark. In addition, it has sought legal opinion to seek geographical indications that will give ‘khadi’ the same status as Darjeeling tea, champagne and Kolhapuri chappals, which will check against “counterfeiting” of a product that is intrinsic to the subcontinent.

A wordmark will not only check against such violation but also stop anyone using a prefix or suffix to the brand. KVIC has also sought protection for several other brands such as Sarvodaya, Khadi India and Khadi Bharat, while also registering various logos.

While the Indian Trademark Office has already given an “identity number” to ‘khadi’, KVIC is all set to file for an international trademark to protect its brand in the US, Canada, the European Union, the CIS countries and South America, sources involved with the exercise said. “We are seeking trademarks in these regions as they are the major areas of export for KVIC,” a government source said. It can take upto 18 months to get an international trademark under the Madrid Protocol.

At the same time, the government has moved in to stop a German company from using the ‘khadi’ brand. It has approached the Organization for Harmonization in the Internal Markets, the EU trademark office, to prevent what it terms an Intellectual Property Right (IPR) violation.

To fight its case, the centre has dug out old documents signed by Mahatma Gandhi to argue its case. Sources said documents related to All India Khadi Board and All India Spinners Association were being used by the Indian mission in Brussels to argue KVIC’s case.

Although the government is mounting an offensive against the German company that is selling shampoos, soaps, kajal and lipstick, experts reckon that there is a tough battle ahead. By not seeking an international trademark in Asia, the government may have protected itself against some opposition from Pakistan and Bangladesh, which also have similar products.

Although the government has been planning to register the ‘khadi’ trademark for several years, little progress was made until the violation in Germany was noticed. Even in India, there are around 80 entities, in the private sector, which have registered similar trademarks without attracting any action from KVIC.

Reference Link