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What is the Penalty for Trademark Infringement in India?

  • February 24, 2022
  • Registrationwala
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Trademark infringement is a crime that occurs when a person uses a trademark that is deceptively similar to straight-up copies of another individual's already registered trademark without the owner's permission.

In this modern financial society, where branding is everything, Trademarks have evolved into one of the most sought-after Intellectual properties. However, this IP is also a double-edged sword, mostly because it has as many people looking forward to registering it as many people to steal it. Therefore, the Trademark Act of India has been placed to protect the mark wielders against mark infringers.

Therefore, the article presented here is not merely a section that provides you with the punishments that can happen to the infringement. It is also a warning if you are even thinking about infringing someone else's trademark.

What is Trademark Infringement?

Trademark infringement is a crime that occurs when a person uses a trademark that is deceptively similar to straight-up copies of another individual's already registered trademark without the owner's permission. The standards to check for such thievery are as follows:

  1. The mark closely resembles the mark of another individual and offers the same service as the trademark owner.
  2. Creation of a mark that can confuse customers with the already registered mark.

The Matter of Proof:

Before we dive into the punishment bestowed upon the individuals of the mark, it must first prove that the symbol has indeed been stolen. To that end, the true owners of the mark can show that the infringer is partaking in the same business as they are. Furthermore, infringement proceedings are not only to be brought to the infringer, for the true owners can only show that the infringer is partaking in the same business practices. If these practices are likely to cause customer confusion, then it is proved that the mark is being stolen and misused by the other.

It should be the right people who need to get punished:

When it comes to penalties, we should be careful who we point our fingers to. Therefore, you should know what sort of person should be deemed an unauthorized trademark use.

  1. A person who is not the proprietor of the mark or has been using a mark that is deemed deceptively similar.
  2. An individual who is falsifying a genuine trademark through any of the following methods:
      • Making modifications to the original mark
      • Making extra additions to the original ark
      • Making their symbol noticeable by using the registered mark on the platform.

An individual is deemed to be false fully applying for the goods and services trademark is:

  1. The individual applies for a mark without the original owner's knowledge or applies for a trademark that is deceptively similar in every way.
  2. When the individual uses a package of another trademark owner to market their products.

Confusing a bit, yes! But dig a bit deeper, and you will comprehend the true meaning of it.

The Matter of Punishment:

When they're a matter of punishment for trademark infringement, there are multiple stages :

There is the matter of applying for an unauthorized trademark, in which you can be considered a culprit if you:

  1. You falsify any trademark.
  2. You falsely apply for any goods and services for a trademark that has already been registered.
  3. If you are in possession, is anything like dye, block, machine, plate, or any other instrument to falsify trademark.
  4. If your description of goods and services associated with the mark is wrong.
  5. If the mark registration application entails the name of a country or a place to be entered and the wrong place or country has been entered there, you would be deemed an unauthorized applicant.
  6. If you modify, make changes to, or efface any indication of origin that has been applied to the trademark that is required.

The punishment for any of the above offenses is about 3 years of imprisonment maximum and a minimum of 3 months. Additionally, there would be an additional fine of fifty thousand rupees, which may or may not extend up to 2 lakhs rupees.

There is a matter of selling goods and services under an unauthorized trademark

Any individual, who hires, sells, or has possession of things and services to sell under an unauthorized trademark is punishable to imprisonment for not less than 6 months, with the maximum jail term up to 3 years. Additionally, a fine can also be imposed on the culprit with no less than 50 thousand and a maximum of 2 lakhs. However, the individual shall not be punishable in case they prove the following:

  1. They have taken all the necessary precautions against committing any offense and, at the time of trademark application, were not aware of the pre-existing brand.
  2. They gave all the information available to them concerning the individual from whom they obtained these goods and services.
  3. If they had acted out of innocence.

There is also a matter of falsely claiming that the trademark has already been registered.

If the person claims that the mark they have been using to represent their goods and services has already been provided with trademark registration and this claim is false, there is 3-year imprisonment.

Also Read: 7 Biggest Trademark Infringement Cases in Recent History

Conclusion

Like we said at the beginning of the article, it is not merely to tell you about the punishment of the infringing offense that is done towards you, but also what you might have to go through if you partake in such infringing practices. Therefore, make the right and wise decisions and always be aware of IP rules should you apply for one.


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