Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bharti-Walmart flagship brand faces Trademark opposition in India:

The management will fight to protect intellectual property of its Great Value label; applications filed in '08

 Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which recently launched several of its global private labels in India, through joint venture Bharti-Walmart Pvt. Ltd, is facing opposition to efforts to register its flagship brand Great Value (GV) here, according to information from the Indian trademark office's website.

"Wal-Mart has registered Great Value in various countries including India and we aggressively protect it as our intellectual property," a Bharti-Walmart spokesperson said in an email statement.

The spokesperson, however, denied knowledge of any opposition.

"Currently, Wal-Mart is not aware of any opposition to our GV brand but, if necessary, we will take necessary steps to protect our intellectual property," the spokesperson added.

Bharti-Walmart, the US retailer's joint venture with Bharti Enterprsies Ltd, had filed in 2008 about a dozen applications to trademark Great Value's logo: 'GV' in a circle emblazoned with 'Great Quality. Low Prices.' The applications were in various categories—baby food, dental wax, dried fruits, jellies and jam, bleaching preparation, soap, cosmetics, hair lotions and others, according to information from the trademark office. Most of those applications are being opposed, according to the trademark office's website.

Bharti-Walmart has already launched several Great Value products including tea, snacks, ketchup, dish-washing bar, toilet cleaner and glass cleaner; it plans to launch more in coming months, according to the company.

It takes about two years for India's Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks to scan and process any application before they are put in the public domain. Any kind of opposition to a trademark application can be made within four months from the day the trademark office makes any application public, trademark lawyers say. Bharti-Walmart's applications were made public late last year and most of its applications are being opposed.

Mint couldn't ascertain the identity of the individuals or companies opposing the Bharti-Walmart applications. Bharti-Walmart had earlier filed dozens of trademark applications seeking to trademark Indian-sounding names including Sankskar, Sabhyata, Cimran, Sur, Sitrali, Pranay, Srishti, Jovaki, Amokhya but the company faced opposition to most of the applications. It now says it will not contest the opposition.

"The application for registration of Astitva and a few other names was filed in August 2008. However, based on consumer feedback and legal opinion we went ahead with the brand name Astitva as our private label brand for Indian ethnic products. Some of the other names that had been filed for registration (except for Astitva) will lapse as we will not be pursuing them further," the Bharti-Walmart spokesperson added.

Source: livemint.com
Publication date: 1/19/2010

Dr.Tabrez Ahmad,
Associate Professor of Law,
KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, India,
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