Anti-Counterfeiting Trademark Law Practice and Brand Protection

trademark attorney in india
Brands are protected in India under trademark law. Counterfeiting is prevented using civil and criminal law proceedings through trademark attorneys. In light of emerging trademark infringement threats and need for brand protection against counterfeit products, the CII National Committee on FMCG 2014-15 of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) decided to take up this issue to provide guidance to the Indian FMGC & Retail Industry.

Counterfeiting in India

Indian Metro Rails have become the foundation for manufacturing counterfeit products and account for maximum IPR violations. It has been more than two decades since India embarked on its economic liberalization program and over the last few years, many of its benefits are clearly visible, especially in organized retailing and omnichannel marketing.
The prime reasons that have fuelled this boom include favorable demographics, rising consumer incomes, and the development of quality real estate like new shopping malls, etc. This has led to changing lifestyles demanding greater variety in merchandise, the convenience of shopping and ease of access.
Economists world over unanimously believe India is poised for tremendous growth with the increase in foreign investments and brands entering the country, the potential for growth is unlimited. The country’s estimated $500-billion retail sector has also seen many changes in the last few years. The largely predominant unorganized retail sector is now transforming. As the employment rate and disposable income levels have risen over the 10 years, consumers in India have begun to turn increasingly towards branded products. This has led to a shift towards the organized brick and mortar and omnichannel retailing. There are multiple retail formats in the country today. Given India’s high infrastructure costs and parking issues, Indian shoppers have embraced and welcomed online shopping due to the convenience of shopping from home.
According to a Google report, increasing Internet penetration and growing preference for shopping online will drive the e-commerce market in India. It is predicted that e-commerce in India will grow to USD 15 billion by 2016 with 100 million people going online to shop. India is estimated to have 302 million Internet users overtaking the US as the world’s second-largest online user base.
Recently, several leading online marketplaces and e-commerce sites were accused by many consumer brands and channel partners of not only undercutting prices but also encouraging the sale of counterfeit goods by sellers of dubious origins on their sites.
Though these allegations are not supported by proof, they do shed light on the fact that there has been an increase in consumer complaints about the suspect quality of the merchandise recently purchased via e-commerce sites. With fake products looking identical to the original, often one cannot tell the difference by just looking at them.
This growing market for fake or counterfeit products in India also results in losses to legitimate businesses, State Exchequer and pose health risks to consumers. According to a study on ‘Socio-economic Impact of Counterfeiting, Smuggling and Tax Evasion’, the estimated annual tax loss to the Government due to counterfeit products in 2012 was Rs. 26,190 crore or almost USD $4.23 billion.
The study, which was conducted in seven key industry, sectors namely auto components, alcohol, computer hardware, FMCG (personal goods), FMCG (packaged goods), mobile phones and tobacco, further estimates an annual sales loss to Industry at Rs. one lakh crore or USD $16.13 billion.

Role of Trademark Attorney

Before filing a trademark in India, trademark attorneys or trademark lawyers conduct thorough brand clearance or trademark searches to determine the availability of a trade mark to be registered in India. The trade mark searches in India are only conducted within the scopes of registered marks and filed marks that have passed the initial scrutiny.

International Trademark Registration

For worldwide protection of trademarks, brand owners mostly opt for trademark registration under Madrid protocol. As per experience of trademark law firms, Madrid system is cost effective and time efficient, wherein trademark applications are filed with comprehensive description of goods and services.

Law Office of Rahul Dev assists clients with a dedicated team of Trademark, Copyright and Media Law Group. Our trademark lawyers are highly experienced in domestic and international trademark prosecution, trademark enforcement and trademark litigation, researching relevant trademark case law, trademark portfolio management, trademark clearance searching, trademark due diligence, and trademark licensing.

Advocate Rahul Dev is a Patent Attorney & International Business Lawyer practicing Technology, Intellectual Property & Corporate Laws. He is reachable at rd (at) patentbusinesslawyer (dot) com & @rdpatentlawyer on Twitter.

Quoted in and contributed to 50+ national & international publications (Bloomberg, FirstPost, SwissInfo, Outlook Money, Yahoo News, Times of India, Economic Times, Business Standard, Quartz, Global Legal Post, International Bar Association, LawAsia, BioSpectrum Asia, Digital News Asia, e27, Leaders Speak, Entrepreneur India, VCCircle, AutoTech).

Regularly invited to speak at international & national platforms (conferences, TV channels, seminars, corporate trainings, government workshops) on technology, patents, business strategy, legal developments, leadership & management.

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