Can Religious Symbols Be Registered As Trademarks?

Dec 2022

Are you planning to register religious symbols as trademarks? Well, you should research thoroughly to understand the use of religious symbols as trademarks. You have to consider the sentiments of people before you plan to use regions symbol for your business. India being a secular country encourages different citizen follows different religions, practicing it and yet maintaining complete harmony.

People have great faith in the religion they follow and they are also the believer of rituals, customs, norms and beliefs. Owing to this, the religious symbols are a vital part of religion and people’s belief on it. It can be used as trademark under any cost as people are connected religiously and emotionally with the symbols. Due to these grounds, some trades wish to use it to catch attract of customers on emotional grounds. But can the religious symbol of trademark be registered?

Use of religious symbol as trademarks

As per the trademark act of 1999, section 9, trademark is thoroughly examined before it is registered for the business. The section clause indicates that the trademark cannot be registered as it contains such information or words that may hurt others’ sentiments or emotions. Therefore, the religious symbols are prohibited for any commercial use. It relates to people faith, religious belief, emotion and others that can harm the symbol. Therefore, it cannot be registered and there arises a chance of refusal of such grounds. As the symbols are common, it tends to create confusion among consumers. Also, if one symbol has been registered only one owner can exercise exclusive rights while other opting for the symbol cannot use the rights.

As a result of this, there are different problems relating to the use of religious symbol as trademarks. One such instance is that as per Court, Krishna is name of a deity and it cannot be used for monopoly purpose. This is also the case with other symbols. The main idea behind this is to negate the use of a religious symbol for business purpose. This way, it gets involved in public domain and should not be available for commercial use.

Is religious sign of trademark accepted?

The registration of trademark is controversial and there should be necessary balance between the use of the trademark by the owner and its function. The main idea behind this is to offer protection to the goods and service that the company caters to. Religious signs are part of common use and there can be similarity in the use of marks that the brand owners opt for registration.

According to some law, it permits the religious or commercial organization to use any religious sign as a trademark. However, this type of trademarks registration is applicable as long it does not conflict any interest of others. A sign having secondary meaning may be of great use for trade purpose. So, when choosing religious symbol as trademark for business, you need to make the correct choice. If you register it, make sure that it does not hurt other’s sentiments.

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