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Indian Corporate Ministry Amends Incorporation Rules To Avoid Trademark Disputes

Corporate Ministry of India has amended Company (Incorporation) Rules, 2014 to ensure clarity and uniformity in registration of company names.

Among other changes, the new amendments offer clarifications on similar naming issues such as use of plurals, special characters, different language tense (such as spoken and speak), names rhyming with existing company names, domain extensions, altered word’s sequence, indefinite and definite articles, similar spellings (such as colour and color), language translations of existing company names (like national and rashtriya), adding city/country name to an existing company name, appending numerals to already registered company name.

In the case of plurals, the corporate ministry noted that company names like Green Technology Limited, Greens Technology Limited and Green Technologies Limited will be considered as similar names. While MS Computers Limited and SMS Computers will be considered as two different company names.

Another example on the use of special characters stated that names such as A.B.C.L.A.B.C Limited and A.B.C.L Limited will be considered as similar names. Also, Team-work Limited and Team@work Limited are noted as similar names.

According to PTI, the changes have been made to ensure more clarity, uniformity and transparency in approving the names for companies at the time of incorporation. The rules have been updated so that there is clarity for people to apply as well as for the corporate ministry officers to process the requests properly.

These amendments have been brought in after the multiple cases of company name registration requests being rejected due to issues such as trademark disputes, and on account of proposed names being too common.

Trademark Disputes In Startups Ecosystem

Recently In December 2018, travel startup MakeMyTrip has filed a trademark cases against five different companies for using “deceptively similar sounding names”. In its complaint, Deep Kalra-led company alleged the five companies — MakeMyYatra, MakeMyJourney, Make My Happy Journey, Pick My Trip and Superb My Trip — have used similar company names and some have also copied its logo.

Another case from 2018 is of a Delhi-based electric appliances maker Marc Enterprises, who had filed a case against MarQ, which is a private label of the Indian ecommerce major Flipkart. Also, footwear chain Metro Shoes had accused Flipkart of selling a private label by the brand name of Metronaut, which is deceptively similar to Metro’s brand name.

Mumbai-based tea maker Girnar Food and Beverages Pvt Ltd too filed a trademark violation case against hyperlocal grocery startup BigBasket for using the ‘Royal’ trademark to sell several products, including tea.

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