Indian Trademark Office recognises “DuPont” as well-known mark in India

DUPONT has joined the likes of BENZ, MICROSOFT, WHIRLPOOL, PEPSI, etc. and made it to the list of well-known trademarks in India.

Based on a representation made by LexOrbis on behalf of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, one of the oldest operating companies in the world, the Registrar of Trademarks formed a Committee which considered the evidences and judgments led by DuPont and vide a notice dated May 29, 2015, the Registrar of Trademark conveyed the decision of the Committee for inclusion of the mark “DuPont” in the list of well-known trademarks. The Office of the Registrar of Trademark maintains a list of well-known trademarks for the purposes of trademark administration in India.

India offers statutory protection to well-known marks that fulfill the threshold specified in the Section 11 of the Trademarks Act, 1999. And being designated as “well known” is a significant milestone for any mark as the designation is recognition of the overarching distinctiveness, reputation and the goodwill that the mark has acquired. Further, a “well known status” offers better and broad range of protection. Not only is the mark protected in respect of the goods and services for which it acts as quality and source indicator but protection extends even to dissimilar goods and services as the basis of protection is to prevent free riding and dilution of the mark and not just consumer confusion and deception.

Well known status also comes in handy if the mark is unregistered or registration has lapsed due to some contingency. For instance, in N.R Dongre v. Whirlpool Corporation, Whirlpool Corporation successfully protected the mark “WHIRLPOOL” even against the registered proprietors of the mark on the basis of the fame and the trans-border reputation that the mark enjoyed in India.