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Dec 2022

Can Religious Symbols Be Registered As Trademarks?

June 2022

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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.

Our People

Bharti Mahtta
Bharti Mahtta
Managing Partner | bharti@laljitm.in
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Bharti Mahtta
Bharti Mahtta
Managing Partner | bharti@laljitm.in
In the past 30 years, Bharti Mahtta has handled a wide range of intellectual property issues. With an in-depth knowledge of IPR, he is passionate about finding solutions to complex problems. Providing legal solutions with due consideration to practical and commercial aspects is one of his strongest focuses on the business needs of clients. Aside from strategizing and protecting clients' IP rights across multiple jurisdictions as well as trademark acquisitions across multiple countries, he represents the Firm at various forums in order to conduct IP awareness workshops with government and non-government entities. Additionally, Mr. Mahtta leads a team of highly qualified, experienced, and accomplished individuals who register trademarks both in India and abroad.
Esteemed Memberships
  • Intellectual Property Attorneys' Association (IPAA)
  • International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys (FICPI)
  • Delhi High Court Bar Association
  • Bar Council of Delhi
Satish Kumar
Satish Kumar
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Satish Kumar
Satish Kumar
Satish has extensive experience in various aspects of law spanning over twenty-three years. In general civil and commercial litigation, he has appeared before the High Court of Delhi and the Supreme Court of India. He offers clients expert advice on brand protection measures in India. With his extensive experience in arbitration, he is able to assist clients in both domestic and international commercial arbitrations. As a focussed and highly competent legal practitioner, Satish has experience in a wide range of areas of law.
Esteemed Memberships
  • Supreme Court
  • Delhi High Court Bar Association
  • Bar Council of Delhi
Umesh Mishra
Umesh Mishra
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Umesh Mishra
Umesh Mishra
In addition to appearing before the Hon'ble Delhi High Court, Umesh Mishra has appeared in a number of district courts in Delhi as well. In addition to corporate and commercial law, he is particularly proficient at intellectual property laws. As a result of his involvement in numerous cases litigated before various courts, he has a deeper understanding of the Indian judicial system and the complexities of trial. A regular appearance and conduct of trials (Civil and Criminal) on behalf of the firm's clients in contentious matters before various courts throughout India is one of his responsibilities.
Esteemed Memberships
  • Bar Council of Delhi
  • Delhi High Court Bar Association
Nishant Mahtta
Nishant Mahtta
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Nishant Mahtta
Nishant Mahtta
Nishant has extensive experience in handling international registrations under the Madrid system, protecting non-traditional trademarks and assisting with the transfer of rights. Due to Nishant's extensive knowledge of trademark systems around the world, he is well suited to provide clients with advice on securing trademark registrations in foreign jurisdictions. It has become his specialty to handle trademark and copyright disputes across a wide range of industries as an IP litigation specialist. In addition to providing clients with expert advice on brand protection measures in India, he is a regular speaker at a number of IP fora, including the Government of India's IP awareness initiatives for enforcement officials and MSMEs.
Esteemed Memberships
  • International Trademarks Association (INTA)
  • Intellectual Property Attorneys' Association (IPAA)
  • International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys (FICPI)
  • Delhi High Court Bar Association
  • Bar Council of Delhi
Junaid Alam
Junaid Alam
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Junaid Alam
Junaid Alam
Junaid is a dispute resolution specialist with extensive litigation experience. In addition to advising clients on IP strategy, he has extensive experience in trade mark infringement, unfair competition, copyright infringement, and design infringement. His expertise lies in understanding the business needs of his clients and creating custom strategies for protecting, maximising, and enforcing their IP rights. Additionally, he provides clients with advice on a variety of issues related to the prosecution and enforcement of copyrights and designs. Throughout his career, he has developed a high level of proficiency in handling complex IP issues and devising suitable strategies for resolution. He frequently appears before various High Courts and District Courts throughout India. As a result of his involvement in several cases, Indian courts have rendered landmark judgements on issues such as intermediary liability, artistic copyright, and design rights.
Esteemed Memberships
  • Intellectual Property Attorneys' Association (IPAA)
  • International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys (FICPI)
  • Delhi High Court Bar Association
  • Bar Council of Delhi
Abhishek Saini
Abhishek Saini
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Abhishek Saini
Abhishek Saini
Abhishek Saini has extensive experience in patents, designs, plant variety protection, and biological diversity. He has advised on IP diligence, patent transactional matters, patent licensing matters, and drafts patents and prosecutes patents extensively.
Esteemed Memberships
  • Asian Patent Attorneys Association (APAA)
  • International Trademarks Association (INTA)
  • Indian Patent Office (IPO)
  • Delhi High Court Bar Association
  • Bar Council of Delhi
Chandan Kumar
Chandan Kumar
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Chandan Kumar
Chandan Kumar
Chandan Kumar is a Chartered Accountant with extensive experience. Since then, he has been sharing his knowledge, providing quality professional services, and offering the finest possible solutions to almost all kinds of business problems in the areas of Income Tax Laws, GST, Finance, Auditing, and Foreign Exchange Laws.
Esteemed Memberships
  • Confederation of Indian Industry
Megha Mahtta
Megha Mahtta
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Megha Mahtta
Megha Mahtta
Megha is a mainstay of the Firm’s trademark department overseeing the management and development of key client portfolios. This encompasses conducting availability searches, prosecution and maintenance of trademarks as well as advising IP owners on how to safeguard against misuse of rights. She is also very well placed to advise clients on securing trademark registrations in jurisdictions outside India.
Esteemed Memberships
  • Esteemed Memberships
  • International Trademarks Association (INTA)
  • Bar Council of Delhi

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