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Who Owns The Arconym/ Trademark ‘KSRTC’?

  • March 7, 2024
  • 26 Views

It is  an undisputed fact that  ‘Kerala State road Transport Corporation’ and ‘Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation’ can be equally abbreviated as ‘KSRTC’.  But who owns the trademark  over the acronym ‘KSRTC’ is a matter of  unsettled dispute, yet.  

It was Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation who applied first for  registration of acronym ‘KSRTC as their trademark.  The applied for the registration of the trademark ‘KSRTC’ on 08/05/2012 stating that they were using the acronym ‘KSRTC as their trademark from 01/11/1973.   Since there was no similar trademark  in the register of the trademarks  maintained by the Registrar of Trademarks  under the Trademarks Act 1999  as on that date  and no one opposed the application ,  the application of the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation was accepted and acronym ‘KSRTC’ was registered in favour of the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation  on 24/03/2017.

The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation too  applied    for the registration of the acronym ‘KSRTC as their trademark on  27/03/2015 claiming prior usage  from 01/04/1965.  Accepting the prior usage claim of Kerala State Road Transport Corporation , the Registrar of Trademarks  accepted their application and registered the acronym ‘KSRTC’ as their  trademark , as well.

The  simultaneous  use of acronym ‘KSRTC’ by  both the  ‘Kerala State road Transport Corporation’ and ‘Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation’  caused to have negative commercial implications for  both.  So,  dispute aroused  who is the real owner  and  accordingly the decision was asked to be revived.  As, as a consequence ,  it was reported  that the Controller General of Patents Design and Trade Marks under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry  vide its order dt June 2, 2021 allowed the  acronym ‘KSRTC’ as the exclusive trademark of  Kerala State road Transport Corporation.  ( The said order is not yet available on public domain).

Even  though  the Controller General of Patents Design and Trade Marks under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry  vide its order dt June 2, 2021 allowed the  acronym ‘KSRTC’ as the exclusive trademark of  Kerala State road Transport Corporation, the dispute would not settle there.  The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation is said to seek legal options and to take  further legal steps to get the order reversed in their favour.

So,  who owns the acronym/ trademark  ‘KSRTC’  is still remains as a unanswered question.

Now , what are  the legal steps that can be taken by Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation?  They can appeal to High Court and thereafter  further appeal to Supreme court.  Earlier the first appeal was to Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB). The Central Government by way of an Ordinance, namely the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalization and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021, published in the Gazette of India dated April 4, 2021 (the “Ordinance”) had  abolished the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) which was established in 2003 under Trade Marks Act, 1999.  The appeals pending before the IPAB, as on April 4, 2021 would be transferred to the respective High Courts.