<b>XIII LOK SABHA DEBATES, <i> Session II (Winter Session) </i> </b>
XIII LOK SABHA DEBATES, Session II (Winter Session) Wednesday, December 22, 1999/Pausa 1, 1921 (Saka )


Type of Debate: GOVERNMENT BILL
Title: Discussion on the Trade Marks Bill, 1999.

TEXT :
1612 hrs.

MR. CHAIRMAN : Hon. Minister, Shri Murasoli Maran may move the Trade Marks Bill for consideration. Time allotted is 2 hours.

THE MINISTER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY (SHRI MURASOLI MARAN): Sir, I beg to move:

"That the Bill to amend and consolidate the law relating to trade marks, to provide for registration and better protection of trade marks of goods and services and for the prevention of the use of fraudulent marks, as passed by Rajya Sabha, be taken into consideration."

Sir, the proposal before this House to consider the repeal and replacement of the Trade and Merchandise Marks Act, 1958 and to enact a new legislation to be called the Trade Marks Bill, 1999 is part of the Government's initiative to modernize the laws relating to intellectual property and make them more user-friendly. The law relating to the registration and protection of Trade Marks in India is the Trade and Merchandise Marks Act of 1958. In the four decades since the statute came into force, the Act has not been amended even once.

The proposed legislation seeks to amend and consolidate the law relating to trade marks in order to provide for the registration and better protection of trade marks for goods and services and for the prevention of the use of fraudulent marks. Market conditions, presently prevailing in India, have undergone a radical change. Most importantly, there has been a demand from the industry to modify the present legislation in line with the requirements of the trade and the need to protect consumers against new forms of fraudulent merchandise. Hence the need to replace the existing Blll. As it is a replacement Bill, the Act of 1958 will stand repealed and replaced by this Bill.

The proposed Bill seeks to introduce protection for registration of trade marks for services in addition to goods. It also seeks to extend protection for well-known trade marks and to do away with the system for registration in Part A and B and to provide for a single computerised register with a simplified procedure for registration with equal rights. The Bill also seeks to introduce protection for registration of collective marks owned by associations. It further seeks to provide for an Appellate Board for the speedy disposal of appeals and rectification of application which presently lie before the High Court.

We need to provide adequate protection for our own commerce, trade and industry to prosper in a competitive world and we should not be the ones losing benefits and protection for want of proper legislation.

The proposed legislation will provide a simplified and more accessible framework for the administration of trademark law and also protect commercial and consumer interests. It also provides for reciprocal protection of Indian trademarks from all countries.

A Trademarks Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in April, 1993. It was referred to the Department- Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Industry, which presented its report in April, 1994. All the recommendations of the Committee were accepted by the Government and necessary amendments were incorporated while passing the Bill in the Lok Sabha on May 29, 1995. The Bill lapsed on account of the dissolution of the Tenth Lok Sabha. This Bill is therefore the same as the Bill of 1995. However, on the suggestion of the Ministry of Law, some changes from the drafting point of view and change in the composition of the appellate body have been incorporated. Other than these, there are no changes in this Bill. Therefore, I seek the unanimous support of this august House in considering the Trade Marks Bill, 1999.

MR. CHAIRMAN : Motion moved:

"That the Bill to amend and consolidate the law relating to trade marks, to provide for registration and better protection of trade marks of goods and services and for the prevention of the use of fraudulent marks, as passed by Rajya Sabha, be taken into consideration." SHRI PRIYA RANJAN DASMUNSI (RAIGANJ): Mr. Chairman, Sir, I am sorry that Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi is not here at the moment.

I thank the present Government of India first for the inconsistency when they were in the Opposition and also the inconsistency when they are now in the Treasury Benches. When this piece of legislation was brought in during the Narasimha Rao Government in 1995, it was opposed by our distinguished friends who are now sitting in the Treasury Benches. Similar was the case of the Copyright Bill, which was opposed tooth and nail by the distinguished Members of the Treasury Benches. Anyway, belated wisdom has come to them and they have realised that what the Congress did was correct. Therefore, they have now changed their words. I thank their late wisdom and also feel pity for the inconsistency in their approach.

This piece of legislation has been brought in by your Government now. I have nothing much to speak but I have to draw the attention of the hon. Minister to a few things because the issues are very much involved in the Ministry that he is heading.

First, I take up the case of Darjeeling Tea and Assam Tea. The hon. Minister will agree with me that the logo for Darjeeling Tea was introduced during 1984-89 by the Rajiv Gandhi Government to earn more foreign exchange. There were efforts made in this country to copy the trade mark, the logo and the whole thing in a very clandestine manner and to sell the different kinds of spurious tea as Darjeeling Tea outside India, especially in the Middle-East. It was brought to the notice of the Commerce Minister at that time, he looked into it carefully and said, `Certain provisions are to be linked up with our trade mark concept.' Similarly, Assam Tea has a different kind of brand, logo and smell. It was also earning better prices both in the domestic and international markets. Attempts were made in our domestic tea industry, especially by those who wanted to sell tea in the Middle-East and Gulf areas, to copy that.

I would like to draw the attention of the hon. Minister regarding the provisions of clause 115. Unfortunately, I was not in the Tenth Lok Sabha. I would have pointed out that there was a lapse. I am sorry that the Government did not look into that carefully. The Government is in a hurry to pass the Bill. What is that lapse?

Under the Copyright Bill, a sub-inspector is to take cognizance of the case and to prepare the documentation so far as police investigation is concerned. Here, in the Trade Marks Bill, under clause 115, any police officer not below the rank of Deputy-Superintendent of Police is the authorized person. I will leave the question before the hon. Minister. Now, consumerism has grown fifteen more times than it was supposed to be.

Because of the opening up of our economy, the consumerism will go right down to the village in a wider scope of the market. All the companies, be it within India or outside, will come and compete or overlap with each other. Suppose, in a village or a tehsil of Gujarat, a block of West Bengal or a sub-divisional town of Uttar Pradesh, if such complaints come, who will investigate them? In each district, at the present moment, there are not more than two or three Deputy Superintendents of Police. One is engaged to maintain the law and order. Other is engaged to monitor the judicial cases and the third one is engaged just to compensate the S.P. in case he is out of station. The Government has taken away these trade mark matters from the sub-inspector because the big companies and such other groups will find it more convenient to avoid the jurisdiction. One has first to lodge the complaint, bring it to the knowledge of the administration and then the DSP goes. Do you think it proper for a DSP from the headquarters to go to a tehsil to do all these things? In the Copyright, it has been left to the sub-inspector of police but in trademark, the volume of which is more than the copyright, it has been left with the DSP.

I am not at all proposing any amendment either on my own or on behalf of my party. The Government can pass the Bill as it is but it can have a wider discussion in the ministry with experts in the field. Possibly, this is a provision which will give a lot of chance to those who are deliberately violating the trademark obligations and are carrying on their trade. Such people will never be brought to the net. Since the sub-inspector is not in its jurisdiction, I am not talking of the honest sub-inspector but a dishonest sub-inspector, he will make them thrive as he likes. They are not accountable to take cognizance of these things unless a DSP comes to the scene. In a town called Ahmadabad, Cannanore or in a district of Darjeeling, it will be very difficult for him to take cognizance of these people and bring them to book. It is very difficult. I know the functioning of the DSP. I still wonder that this concept is still there. Maybe, it was felt that the trademark cases will be very few and the high-ups, the big companies may not like to be interrogated, supervised or negotiated by a person less than a DSP. In that case, I think it will be much more dangerous.

I personally feel that this is the only provision where some lacuna can be found out, otherwise, the other things are in their correct form. I request the hon. Minister, after passing it here, to have a general study of this Bill to see which are the areas where counter-efforts may begin at the time of opening up of economy, competition or challenging the trademarks of Indian products. As also, to see the loopholes which may require amendments to be brought in future to plug them.

Some of the established trade marks are also causing some problems. There is a provision not to give any trade mark which is susceptible to any religious sentiment, etc. I agree with it. Mamataji is not here. I wonder, how does smoking link with monkey?

ʽxnֺix BE xɮ < c *

I do not understand the logic of linking smoking with monkey or an elephant with mustard oil.

l E i Jɮn i +SU * l E i BE ɨɪ <ix ɶɽڮ Mɪ l E ɤ M Mɱiɡ l E l E U{ i `E *

Somebody riding on an elephant shouts

ɽ i JɮnM*

He is not giving food to the poor elephant. But he is putting somebody as a rider on the elephant. I personally feel that since we have a lot of respect for the wildlife, the way we are using the symbol of elephant or tiger or monkey for the sake of our consumerism is very very painful and sickening to me. This matter of course does not cause concern for the trade. But it sometimes creates laughter and mystery behind it.

It is true that Brooke Bond is a multinational company. But they are doing business in our country. Somebody has copied Brooke Bond Tea. When I was a Minister, I found exactly the same thing. They wrote Book Bound Tea. When I asked why it is Book Bound, they said:

"< EMV Sɪ ʤEx E n Ji-Eiɤ iɪ Ei *"

Brooke Bond and Book Bound are two different words in English. But while speaking, Book Bound sounds nearer to Brooke Bond. Of course, Brooke Bond is a very powerful company. They fought and finished them. That is a different issue.

In India it is very well established. If somebody wants to challenge it one day and do some mischief, there are provisions. How are provisions there? I give a classic example. I am from a rural constituency. There are two brands of soaps called Rexona and Lyril by two very well established groups. They have their own trade mark. They have their own pattern also. One day I went to a village haat in my constituency to address a meeting during the election campaign. I found something called Resona soap was being sold. It was just like Rexona soap. All of them were announcing:

Ex ɺi , Mƴ E M Jɮn *

It was looking like the original stuff, only the letter `x' was changed. Unless the Sub-Inspector gets hold of them on the spot, how will the DSP come into the picture?

I, therefore, appeal to the hon. Minister to look into these aspects. They can pass the Bill today. We all support it. But these are the apprehensions that are gaining ground. In future, if you feel that some more areas could be covered to tighten the arrangement, it will be good for the industry, good for the trade, good for the future participation and the competition of the company.

I support the Bill.

SHRI V.P. SINGH BADNORE (BHILWARA): Mr. Chairman Sir, I rise to support the Bill. The hon. Member from the Opposition said that this Bill was brought by their Party when they were in power. It is being supported by them though it is being piloted from this side.

This Bill is one of the most important Bills for India. It will change the whole market, trade, commerce mainly because E-Commerce is coming into India in a big way. In another ten years most of the people even in the rural India, not to talk only of the bourgeois or the urban elite, people will be buying things looking at the TV and by sending E-Mails. That is why Trade Marks Bill is one of the most important Bills for India.

1629 hours (Dr. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh in the Chair)

There are some apprehensions which were expressed like today curry is being made a trade mark in Japan. What has curry got to do with Japan?

In America, there is basmati and all these things are there. These apprehensions are there in the minds of the Indians. You will have to do something to stop this. The biggest market today is the perfume industry. It is even bigger than marketing liquor or beer. It is the biggest market. Do you know what they are doing? They have already got the Jaipur perfumes. Now what is Jaipur? It is a famous city in India. It has a history behind it. It has got hundreds of years of history and that also of the Maharajas and the system. They were with Akbar and they also fought against the Marathas and what not. The whole history is being taken away by a perfume company. Can we stop it? We cannot stop it.

Then, there is another problem that we have to look into. A Jaipur firm called Autolite went to Paris and for a small little error which they may have committed, the police of France caught them and put them behind bars. They did not even have money with them and they did not know as to why they were behind bars and what is their fault. It was due to trade mark; it was due to patents or the trade marks. Things like these are happening to the Indian industry and we have to do something about it. We do not have that sort of money to fight against and be in litigation with the foreign companies which are very very big. These are the apprehensions and that is why, we will have to do something about these things.

There is a very interesting story about how the trade marks system works. It is interesting to quote Mr. Atio Morita, Chairman of the Board of Sony. He gives an illustration about international trade marks in his book "Made in Japan'. He writes that in 1955, when Sony was a very small company making radios, he went to US and there, he got a big order of 100,000 pieces of radios but there was a condition put forth by an American firm, Bullova. It said not to put `Sony' on the radio but put `Bullova'. Imagine the plight of that small trader, Sony in 1955 getting a big order of 100,000 radios! He said, "Should I take it or should I stick to the name, Sony?" Suppose he had taken over that order of Bullova, then the name of the famous radio which is the household name today, would not have been here today. We would not have been able to get the name Sony today. He writes that it was his best decision that he ever made, that is, he refused that firm and he went to make Sony. The fact is that we have to learn a lesson from Sony and how our industry can cope up with the international competition. Otherwise, we will get big orders and we have a name in the international market. But those people are really using us.

In the end, while supporting the Bill, I would like to mention only one more thing that they must also think of changing the renewal system. Now, in the renewal system, if somebody forgets to renew his trade mark, and it goes on for some time like this, will the Government give that trade mark to somebody else? Will it be possible? For example, let us say that there is the Indica Car of the Tatas. After some time, if they start using another name and the Indica is phased out, will the Government be able to give the India name to some other car manufacturer of India who will use the Indica name and the Tatas' trade mark? Will that be open? Nothing has been said about this in the Bill.

There is another thing that in Japan, France and the USA, if there is a trade mark which is not used for three years, that trade mark is again open and he cannot use it any more. It is cancelled. Mr. Minister, have you thought of something of that kind in our country also? Basically, this Bill has to be in consonance with or in conformity with the rules and the regulations of the other countries where we should also benefit. It is not one-way traffic that they benefit from us and we do not benefit from them.

With these words, I support the Bill otherwise. Thank you very much.

SHRI BIKRAM KESHARI DEO (KALAHANDI): Mr. Chairman, Sir, I rise to support the Bill brought forward by the hon. Minister wholeheartedly. This Bill was piloted in the year 1993 in this House but the same was referred to the Standing Committee for eliciting its views. Eventually, the views came and now the hon. Minister has again piloted this Bill.

This Bill is of great importance. It is essential for the merchandise of the country. Because, as you know, India is a country of varied cultures, varied agricultural practices, varied trades and varied people. Therefore, every region has got its own trade mark. It has got its own individuality thereby its own identity. To save that identity, this Bill is very essential.

As you know, today in the world of globalisation - India has accepted the liberalised polices - if this Bill is not passed and if this Bill is not to be in vogue, then, our Indianised products, the Ayurvedic products or the products which are made through the Ayurvedic process or the products which are Indianised products would be globalised; gradually these products would die and the people depending upon these products would fade away. Therefore, this piece of legislation will protect their identity. It is like the Copyright Act which was passed half-an-hour before this piece of legislation which protects literature and the artists. Therefore, trade mark or the trade product of merchandise has got a vast area of operation.


[NEXT PAGE]