Mum­bai’s Taj Ma­hal ho­tel joins global league, ac­quires im­age trade­mark

WHAT’S IN IT? A trade­mark iden­ti­fies the brand owner of a par­tic­u­lar prod­uct or ser­vice and serves as badge of ori­gin

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Estates - - FRONT PAGE - Nam­rata Kohli feed­back@livemint.com n (Nam­rata Kohli tracks ev­ery­thing from House to Home, from real es­tate to in­te­ri­ors, across key mar­kets in In­dia and glob­ally)

NEW DELHI: Ho­tel Taj Ma hal maybe set to join the big league of build­ings that have an im­age trade­mark, the likes of Em­pire State Build­ing in New York, Bur­jKh al­ifa Dubai, Eif­fel Tower in Paris and Syd­ney Opera House etc. But first what ex­actly is an im­age trade­mark and what is the ben­e­fit of ac­quir­ing it?

A trade­mark is are cog ni sable sign, de­sign, ex­pres­sion which iden­ti­fies prod­ucts or ser­vices of a par­tic­u­lar source from those of oth­ers.

In layper­son terms, a trade­mark iden­ti­fies the brand owner of a par­tic­u­lar prod­uct or ser­vice and serves as a badge of ori­gin. The trade­mark owner can be an in­di­vid­ual, busi­ness or­gan­i­sa­tion or any le­gal en­tity. Ac­cord­ing to lead­ing lawyer Sudip Mul­lick, part­ner, Khai tan& Co .,“The owner of a trade­mark upon reg­is­tra­tion thereof, is en­ti­tled to the ex­clu­sive use of the mark and pro­hibit the use of the mark by oth­ers upon or in re­la­tion their goods or ser­vices. The ex­clu­siv­ity is with a view to pro­tect the mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of the good­will and rep­u­ta­tion associated with the par­tic­u­lar mark by third par­ties with­out the au­tho­riza­tion of the owner of the mark. The ben­e­fit of ac­quir­ing the reg­is­tra­tion for the im­age of the build­ing is that no third party can use are pre­sen­ta­tion of the im­age of the build­ing as a trade­mark.” The owner of a trade­mark may pur­sue le­gal ac­tion against in­fringe­ment.

How­ever trade­mark pro­tec­tion for an im­age of a build­ing is not a com­mon oc­cur­rence. Ex­plains Nishad Nad­karni – As­so­ciate Part­ner, K ha it an& Co -“The owner of a par­tic­u­lar build­ing/ struc­ture would be el­i­gi­ble to reg­is­ter the build­ing as a trade­mark if the struc­ture of the build­ing is dis­tinc­tive, associated with the owner in such a man­ner so as to be ca­pa­ble of dis­tin­guish­ing any prod­ucts or ser­vices upon or in re­la­tion to which it is used as those orig­i­nat­ing from the owner of such build­ing.”

Has Taj Ma­hal ho­tel got its im­age trade­mark? Ac­cord­ing to le­gal lu­mi­nar­ies, there ap­pear to be at least three ap­pli­ca­tions for im­ages of var­i­ous as­pects of the ho­tel build­ing, one of which is pend­ing and two of which have pro­ceeded to reg­is­tra­tion. While no ob­jec­tions were raised by the Trade Marks Reg­istry of­fice (T MR) with re­spect to the two reg­is­tered marks dur­ing the ex­am­i­na­tion stage, an ob­jec­tion as to non-dis­tinc­tive­ness has been raised in the third ap­pli­ca­tion. The trade­mark reg­is­tra­tion ap­pli­ca­tion is still pend­ing, confirms Mul­lick.

But how much time does it typ­i­cally take from the time one ap­plies to the time one ac­quire sit. Ac­cord­ing to N is had Nad­karni– As­so­ciate Part­ner, Khai­tan & Co, “In the event that there are no ob­jec­tions raised by the TMR in the course of the ex­am­i­na­tion process the reg­is­tra­tion process usu­ally takes about 1.5 years to two years. In the re­cent past, the processing of ap­pli­ca­tions bythe TMR has be­come quite fast. The regis­tra­tions which have been granted have taken less than a year to be granted since there were no ob­jec­tions raised by the TMR – the ap­pli­ca­tions were made in Oc­to­ber 2016 and the reg­is­tra­tion was granted in May 2017. How­ever, if there are ob­jec­tions raised by the TM Rori ft here are op­po­si­tion pro­ceed­ings, then it is likely to take much longer for the mark to pro­ceed to reg­is­tra­tion. The third ap­pli­ca­tion which was also made in Oc­to­ber 2016 is pend­ing since the T MR has raised ob­jec­tions in the ex­am­i­na­tion re­port.”

The ben­e­fit of the trade­mark is that it will en­sure that com­mer­cial use of the im­age of its dome and grand ex­te­rior can be made only with the con­sent of Taj Ho­tels Palaces Re­sorts Sa­faris. Ex­plain­ing the need to ac­quire a trade­mark, Ra­jen­dra Misra, Sr. VP, Gen­eral Con­sul, Taj Ho­tels Palaces Re­sorts Sa­faris ex­plains -“We felt strongly about pro­tect­ing and bring­ing forth the dis­tinc­tive­ness of this most recog­niSed build­ing in In­dia. For more than a cen­tury, the Taj dome has an­chored the Mum­bai sky­line–it is an ir­re­place­able part of the soul of the city. It ul­ti­mately leads to pro­tect­ing the good­will of the ho­tel.”

Who de­signed this build­ing? Ap­par­ently, se­nior ar­chi­tect Si­taram Khan­derao Vaidya signed the plans for this grand ho­tel that he and D.N.Mirza sub­mit­ted to Jam­setjiN. Ta taint he late 1890s. When Sit ar am died of malaria in the 1900s; his work was then taken over by W. A. Cham­bers, who modified the cen­tral dome and its sur­round­ing satel­lites into what the com­pany spokes- per­son calls as“a less ex­otic com­pro­mise be­tween F. W. Stevens Ori­en­tal and Floren­tine Re­nais­sance. Al­though less dra­matic than it might have been, the mas­sive 240- feet high cen­tral dome has be­come one of the dis­tinc­tive land­marks of Mum­bai city.”

HT/FILE

The Taj Ma­hal ho­tel in Mum­bai.

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