As a leading law firm specializing in intellectual property rights, we are well aware of the importance of securing trademark registrations for our clients. In the context of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), Section 47 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999, India grants them with an extra layer of protection for their valuable intellectual property.
The provision clearly states that any NRI or foreigner who wishes to apply for registration of a trademark in India may do so through an agent or attorney authorized by him in writing. This means that NRIs need not be physically present in India to secure trademark registrations and can instead appoint a trusted representative to act on their behalf.
This is particularly relevant to NRIs as they often have strong ties and business interests in India but may not be able to personally oversee all aspects related to their intellectual property rights due to geographical constraints. Hence, this provision allows them flexibility and convenience while ensuring efficient management of their trademarks.
Furthermore, it must be noted that even if NRIs do not wish to register their trademarks themselves, they can still benefit from licensing agreements with Indian companies willing to use their marks within the country. In such cases too, having a registered trademark provides added security against any potential infringement or misuse.
To further understand the significance of this provision under Section 47, let us examine some relevant case laws:
1) In Re: Rajesh Tulsiani vs Shri Navneet Publications Pvt Ltd & Anr – The Delhi High Court held that even though the plaintiff was residing outside India at the time he filed his suit for passing off against Indian defendants using his mark without authorization; he could still pursue legal remedies as he had secured prior registration before leaving India.
2) Kavita International Pvt Ltd v Aditi International – This case concerned an NRI based in Canada who had obtained registration for her cosmetics brand ‘Aromaz’ with assistance from agents appointed by her family members living in India. The court held that the registration was valid and enforceable despite the applicant not being present in India during the application process.
3) BDR Pharmaceuticals International Pvt Ltd v Bristol-Myers Squibb Co & Anr – In this case, an NRI residing in Kenya had been using and marketing a drug under a particular trademark for years before seeking registration in India. The court granted relief to the plaintiff recognizing their rights to use the mark as they had established prior usage and reputation even if they were not physically present in India.
4) Midler v Ford Motor Co – This is an American case but relevant as it highlights how securing trademark registrations can protect one’s intellectual property rights from unauthorized use even outside of their home country. In this case, actress Bette Midler successfully sued Ford Motor for using her voice without consent or payment on one of their advertisements.
Therefore, we strongly advise all NRIs with business or personal interests in India to take advantage of Section 47 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 by appointing a trusted representative and securing registrations for their valuable trademarks. Doing so will provide them with peace of mind knowing that their intellectual property is protected against any unlawful infringement or misuse while enabling them to focus on other aspects related to their ventures living abroad.