Abbreviations as Trademarks: A Misguided Road to Guaranteed Conflict

  • Suchint Krishna
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  • Suchint Krishna

    Student at Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad, India

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According to Indian trademark law, a word or term cannot be generic or a common term in commerce, nor should it be recognizable by customers as being descriptive of the kind/quality/character/intended purpose of specific goods/services. Most abbreviations, on the other hand, would be regarded descriptive and non-distinctive because they are made up of generic/common trade jargon. When a trademark, such as ‘VIT' for Vitamins or ‘EV' for Electric Vehicles, is incapable of being identified with a single source, it becomes difficult to assert exclusive rights. In general, abbreviations, especially those with fewer than three letters, are not viewed as intrinsically distinctive unless it can be demonstrated with convincing proof that a mark has gained distinctiveness or a secondary meaning as a result of its widespread use. GE, HP, LG, and other well-known brands are examples. The lacuna therefore created by a fragile legal framework allows a guaranteed ambiguity to surround this field thereby allowing for multiple disputes to take place. India, in the 21st century, is currently witnessing a surge in the number of start-ups and aspiring enterprises and so requires a comprehensive legislation which will not invite perpetual conflict under its purview. The author, through this article, will aim to interpret the pronouncements delivered by Indian Courts in various landmark cases including KSRTC v. KSRTC. In addition, there will be a concerted effort to understand the role of Section 34 of the Trademarks Act, 1999, as a protection in disputes of such nature. Conclusively, a conspectus will be drawn with special focus on both the current problems and plausible futuristic solutions.


Research Paper


International Journal of Legal Science and Innovation, Volume 3, Issue 5, Page 154 - 160


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