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Trademark or Copyright? (Silicon Valley × LexStart)

Updated: Sep 23, 2020

Silicon Valley: S01E03 (Part 2) - Richard and the team, after having secured an investment in their company, Pied Piper, find out that the Pied Piper name and “trademark” are registered to another company. Is it too late to change your company’s name if you have the first cheque issued to it in your hands? Tune in to S01E03 to find out. Nevertheless, let’s understand what a trademark is.

A trademark is a type of intellectual property and is defined by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) to mean “a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises”. A trademark can range from a word, logo to a slogan, from the packaging of a product to a combination of colours, basically any recognisable phrase, symbol or insignia that is capable of distinguishing a particular product from other similar products and indicates the origin or source of such goods/services that are sold under such trademark.

Did you know The Coca-Cola Company was granted a trademark registration for the original ‘contour bottle with grooves’, in addition to the word Coca-Cola, the red colour and the logo itself?

Trade marks in India are governed as per provisions laid down under the Trade Marks Act, 1999. As defined under the Act, a "trade mark" means a mark capable of being represented graphically and which is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one person from those of others and may include shape of goods, their packaging and combination of colours; and which when registered confers upon the proprietor an exclusive right to use or permit the use of such registered trade mark.

Trademarks are often confused with copyrights. Unlike trademarks, copyrights (or author’s rights) are granted only to original works of authorship (literary, artistic, dramatic, musical, cinematograph film or software), ranging from books, music, and movies to paintings, sculptures, and computer programs. Copyrights in India are governed by the Copyright Act, 1957.

Find out how to apply for a trademark in India here:

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