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One of the famous quotes of Shakespeare is ‘what’s in a name’. As well acclaimed and with due respect to his views “a rose would smell like a rose even if it were called by another name” has lost its relevance in present day scenario. These days in the highly competitive environment and globalisation most of the world renowned celebrities are running behind name and fame and want to secure their reputation, which keeps on being bigger with every passing moment. So, there is a new buzz among celebrities to secure their reputation from unauthorised exploitation by registering their name as a “Trademark”.
The Trade Mark Act, 1999, prohibits the use of personal names under section 14 where an application for the registration of trademark is likely to be rejected if it suggests connection with a living person ,or person whose death took place within 20 years prior to date of application. Certain names like Sri Sai Baba, Lord Buddha, Sri Ramakrishna, the Sikh gurus cannot be registered under section 16(1) of 1940, 23(1) of Trade & Merchandise Act 1958 &159(2) of the Trade Mark Act, 1999.
Individuals may apply for the protection of their name and “likeness” among many other things with the Indian Trademarks Registry in order to obtain statutory protection against misuse. This is of strategic importance for celebrities who intend to use their image and “likeness” to identify and endorse their own or an authorized line of merchandise and prevent any inappropriate usage of their celebrity drawing powers.
The trend of celebrities in India seeking protecting under the trademark law has seen a phenomenal increase and they seem to be taking a cue from celebrities across the globe. Some of the famous international celebrities mentioned below have already either filed or got the trademarks registered with the relevant Trademark Registry:
Victoria and David Beckham
Soccer star David Beckham and his wife Victoria have led the way in exploiting their names, after registering them, as well as Beckham Brand Limited. David and Victoria Beckham’s value soared to more than £190 million after they successfully trademarked their names, using them to sell everything from underwear to perfume. The couple has been rumoured to make £100,000 everyday, courtesy their names.
First Bollywood star who come into lime light for filing Trademark in non other than “Badshah” of Indian Film Industry ‘Shahrukh Khan’. Shahrukh Khan filed Trademark with his signature mark ‘SRK’ in almost all classes to secure his Brand name and as on date, holds twelve registration in his name.
Shahrukh Khan also known as ‘SRK’ has Brand Value not less than ‘million and millions’ and it is a very smart step from “King Khan” to secure his name. ‘SRK’ will indeed have a right to sue those who are in fact infringing his Intellectual Property rights or passing off any goods or services using his brand value/name and that could well include the local hair-dresser or a shop selling garments.
Akshay Kumar Bhatia
After back to back “Khiladi” venture, Akshay Kumar Bhatia claims that ‘Khiladi’ is a brand with which he is being associated with since 1992.With a view to strengthen the association with the title, and gain the statutory edge, the actor has filed an application for registration of trade mark ‘Khiladi’ in his name with the TM registry under many Trademark Classifications.
Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar
God of Cricket, Legend, Father of Cricket and many more names are actually some of the titles to describe this man. This God of Indian cricket has made India Feel so Proud across the world. The Cricketer has his initials ‘SRT’ trade marked. The great cricketer has big brand value worldwide, TM ‘SRT’ is smartest step by the cricketer to secure his reputation which he has earned after a lot of hard work and dedication. No one without his permission can use title Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar ‘SRT’, in fact the film maker, who had used the cricketer’s reference in his film ‘Ferrari Ki Sawaari’, had to seek the cricketer’s permission before using his name.
Amitabh Bachan TM his baritone voice
Can some one Trademark his/her voice? Yes, according. to the definition of Trademark in Trademark Act “trade mark” means a mark capable of being represented graphically and which is capable of distinguishing the goods and services of one person from those of others.
Angry Young man who is famous for his dialogue delivery and specially for his ‘Voice’ filed an ‘Sound Mark’ which is not so known in India. Many companies advertise their products using his voice without any authorization or notification to him. A Gutkha company used his voice for advertisement after which Amitabh Bachan had to give clarification that he had not done such an advertisement. The step of seeking protection of his voice under sound mark is a good measure towards protection of his reputation and brand.
There are still many in line and waiting to get their fame.
Its all about Game of Name………..
About the Author: Paras Khurana, Trademark Associate at Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.