Effective Brand Enforcement Policy Is Needed In India

Recently I was engaged in a very informative discussion about brand protection laws in India and brand enforcement laws in India at a networking group. The discussion focused on the nature, scope, brand enforcement policy, brand risk management strategy and legal framework of brand protection and enforcement in India.

Brand protection and enforcement is generally managed by the intellectual property (IP) laws of India, especially Trademarks law of India. However, there is a difference between Trademark and Brand. Though in general practice, Trademark and Brand are often used as interchangeable terms but technically, the term brand is much wider than Trademark. Trademark is one of the pivotal and crucial components of Brand. The other components of Brand vary from country to country and industry to industry.

Trademark registration is one of the steps in creation of brand but such registration in itself is not capable of creating Brand since a registration can be sought and obtained in respect of Trademark proposed to be used in future. Further, one can even develop a brand without getting their Trademark registered.

The Brand signifies existence of some sort of goodwill or reputation between particular goods/services and the owner/entity manufacturing/trading/rendering them. Such goodwill, apart from Trademark can even be associated with any / more of following –

(a) Company slogan,

(b) Products/services themselves,

(c) Unique feature(s) of the Products/services, such as the manufacturing process or the way they are made available to consumer/client, e.g. particular ambience created or a particular dish served by a particular hospitality player in their hotels/restaurants,

(d) Market positioning of the product / services.

The above stated are the features that are taken as a base for determining the financial value of any brand.

Further, a Trademark can be changed/discontinued at any point of time without affecting the brand of particular product/service or of corporate houses as whole. It is one of widely used risk mitigation strategy to check infringement and piracy of goods.

In Brand, it is the goods/services themselves which assume a personality. Thus, through effective Brand Enforcement Policy, the Corporates needs to protect the personality and goodwill of their goods/services, not the trademark (which in most of the cases is just a name or graphical representation) under which they are sold/served.