Namaste “USPTO”

6 November 2019
  • Author: Dr. Mohan Dewan

Amazon faced a severe backlash recently from India. The backlash was so severe that #BoycottAmazon was on the top of Twitter’s trending hashtag list. All this happened because some of us stood strong against the retail giant who was selling toilet seat covers and door mats bearing pictures of our revered gods and goddesses printed on them.

We were able to stop Amazon because its obnoxious act caught our eyes, however there is something more sinister that is happening in the US and will continue to happen until we object strongly.

TRADE MARK

Since the situation at hand revolves around Trademarks, we need to first understand what is a Trademark? In plain words the term Trademark refers to a word, sign, symbol or expression which differentiates products or services of a particular source from those of others. Since, trademark is an identifier of origin of the goods or services; it is important that it does not indicate a wrong origin and deceive/ confuse the customer.

SITUATION AT HAND

A routine trademark search through the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) revealed the dollowing registrations that was startling.

1. HORNY RAM ADULT TOYS is registered TM for Adult toys.

2. THE HORNY RAM is a registered TM for Bar Services.

3. WICKED RAM is a registered TM for Beer and ale.

4. RAMHEMP is a registered TM for Hemp (Bhang) containing products.

5. HAIRY HINDU is a registered TM for Politically Correct Razors (What does it even mean?).

6. BHAGWAN BLEND is a registered TM for Smoking Herbs.

7. BRAHMIN is a registered TM for Shoes and also for Leather Goods.

8. HARI OM HEMP is a registered TM for Hemp (Bhang).

9. NAMASTE AS FUCK is a registered TM for Leggings and Shorts.

10. HOLI(SEX) is a registered TM for Bath Products.

11. HOLI is a registered TM for Distilled Spirits (Gin).

12. NAMASTE NASTY is a registered TM for Apparrels

13. NAMASTE is a registered TM for Alcohol

14.is a registered TM for Disk Jockey Service.

15. is also a registered TM for Real Estate Services.

16. VAYU is a registered TM for Alcohol.

17. SANSKRIT is a registered TM for Detergents.

18. LAKSHMI is a registered TM for Bathroom Cleaner.

19. SADHU is a registered TM for Comics.

20. BJP is a registered TM for Peepholes for Doors.

21. VEDA is a registered TM for Leather Goods

(Registration details of all these marks can be accessed here)

………and the list continues, there are several other marks that we have discovered. These marks are not only registered but many of the proprietors are actually using them for the goods and services. All of this is on the public record and anyone who is interested can search it on the USPTO website.

Now some people will say. Arey bhai isme dikkat kya hai?

Dikkat Hai, Let me explain why?

IMPROPER IN LAW

{The first issue that needs to be addressed here is how these marks got through the registration process and the other and a more important issue is, even if these marks attained registration, how did they manage to get a registration for something that is immoral, disparaging and capable of hurting religious sentiments per se.}

These marks are not inherently distinctive and for this very reason cannot be associated with one single source and hence registration of such marks by the USPTO undermines the very foundation of Trademark law. Therefore, these marks ought not to have been registered.

Furthermore, US Trademark laws have explicit exception for marks that are immoral, disparaging or falsely suggesting any connection with any belief. The USPTO itself has rejected registration of the mark “Slant” and “Red Skin” on this very ground. Point to be noted here is, if these were not allowed registrations, how did “Hairy Hindu” or “Namaste As Fuck” manage to get registration. Every mark is published in the Trademark Journal for opposition before it attains registration. Therefore, somewhere the fault is ours too. I would like to quote the great Edmund Burke here

“Morality is more important than laws, because law depends on morality”

The USPTO should not have ideally registered these marks at the first instance, however, due to gross negligence and ignorance on part of the USPTO these marks attained registration.

WHAT’S DONE CAN BE UNDONE!

There is always an option to get the Trademark Register rectified. So, now when we are aware how our culture is being misappropriated in the US, we need to stand up, take this to our Ministry of Commerce/ Ministry of External Affairs, which in turn can report this to the U.S. Department of Commerce to get these trademark entries deleted from the records of USPTO.

 

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