Microsoft declared Well-Known mark in India

Microsoft-logoNew Delhi, India, March 27, 2014: “Microsoft” has been declared a Well-Known mark in India through an ex-parte judgment delivered by the Delhi High Court on February 3, 2014. Microsoft Corporation, a company incorporated in the United States in 1975, has been acknowledged as the biggest software publisher for personal and business computing in the world.

According to World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) well-known trade and service marks enjoy protection against signs which are considered a reproduction, imitation or translation of that mark provided that they are likely to cause confusion in the relevant sector of the public. Well-Known marks are usually protected, irrespective of whether they are registered or not, in respect of goods and services which are identical with, or similar to, those for which they have gained their reputation.

Microsoft as a trade mark is a well-known mark across the world and enjoys a stellar reputation all across the world. Extensive evidence was filed by Microsoft in the case (CS (OS) 2163/2010 & I.A. No. 14225/2010 decided by the Hon’ble Delhi High Court.

Microsoft Corporation & Anr v. Kurapati Venkata Jagdeesh Babu & Anr. so as to establish its case, including the Forbes list of the most powerful brands for the year 2013 which recognized the plaintiffs company to be the second-most valuable company in the world. It was further put forth by the Microsoft’s counsels in their arguments that if the public came across or used a product, service or domain name bearing the mark Microsoft; they are likely to believe that they have a connection to Microsoft Corporation.

With this order, Microsoft as a mark is now included in an elite list of well-known brands maintained by the trade mark registry in India such as Tata and Whirlpool. This means that from now on, any request for registration of the mark Microsoft by any other person or company other that Microsoft Corporation will be automatically rejected not only with respect to computer or software products but for any other class of goods.

Microsoft Corporation has already successfully enforced in its trademark several times in the past, and the Delhi High Court itself had granted more than 300 injunctions protecting different facets of its intellectual property including its well-known brand “Microsoft.” While passing the order, the Learned Judge held that “As per the material placed on record and the statement made in the plaint and in the affidavit which have been proved in evidence, it is clear that the trademark Microsoft is a well-known trademark. The same is known to most of the people in the entire world. No one is entitled to use the same either as a trademark or part of its trading style/corporate name in relation to similar or dissimilar business as the said trademark has a unique goodwill and reputation”.

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