The Supreme Court has ruled that names of holy or religious books cannot be claimed as trademark for goods or services.
“There are many holy and religious books like Quran, Bible, Guru Granth Sahib, Ramayan to name a few. The answer to the question as to whether any person can claim the name of a holy or religious book as a trade mark for his goods or services marketed by him is clearly ‘NO’,” a bench headed by justice Ranjan Gogoi held.
The verdict came on an appeal filed by Shri Lal Babu Priyadarshi from Patna who wanted to register a trade mark by the name “RAMAYAN” for incense sticks (agarbattis, dhoops) and perfumeries manufactured by his company.
When Priyadarshi moved the assistant registrar of trade mark for it, a notice of opposition was filed by his dealer. The assistant registrar dismissed the opposition.
Before SC, Priyadarshi submitted that through extensive use and advertisement, the trademark “RAMAYAN” and the carton in which the products are sold had become distinctive.
“Using exclusive name of the book “RAMAYAN” as a trade mark for any commodity could not be permissible. If any other word is added as suffix or prefix to the word “RAMAYAN”, it may be considered for registration as a trade mark,” the bench ruled.