The expression ‘Trade mark hunting or trapping’, sound unfamiliar and new to the subject, but it had been there for quite some time, especially increased in last two decades. Post liberalization of Economy, it took sharp rise, from the year 2000 onward in the IPR regimes and Business Practices, especially among the Trading and Business community. It is primarily a practice adopted by nexus of ‘one party’ and the Agent, who with the, ill- will identify the and study the market for high value Trade Mark and related Product and services, especially with an eye of targeting the Multi National foreign Companies.
The Nexus works like this, first they identify the Company and their range of Products e.g. if one Electronic devices making Company is manufacturing the Products starting from high-end LED Television Sets, to low-cost Head Phones or Ear Phones, under its Well-Known and Well –established, House Brand and House name, to say, X-1 brand.
The Nexus or Trade Mark Hunter, will pick the lowest order product, in the category, of products, which is being manufactured and marketed by that Foreign MNC, /Electronic Company and start manufacturing or just buy from any manufacture, already making such products and put his Label, which deceptively similar to the one of foreign MNC.
The real target is not to sell these products under the deceptively similar Trade Mark, and earn revenues by selling, Ear Phones or low cost Product. The Trade Mark Hunter is eying on Company’s to be launched series or much awaited and talked about newer versions of Products, which is to be launched internationally, all over the world including the Country and Market where the Trade Mark Hunter is Operating.
It is the common practice that when big brand like viz. Microsoft, Sony, Whirlpool, Samsung, Apple, Rolex, Omega, Ray-Ban, or even Fashion and Sports Brand etc. plan to lunch their product they announce or even Media some time make it to public that such products will be launched in Market with details of timing and other such information on pricing, date of launch comparison with other similar products in the market and newer features, which were not available in the previous version of the line or series of products .
The Trade Mark Hunter/ Nexus, fully aware about these information, which is available in public domain, immediately applies for securing IPR rights on same name or Trade Name which is the one to be launched by the Foreign MNC, on the basis of Trade Mark Hunter’s, user under the its deceptively similar mark, which is already in use.
Many of us will think, how does it help or benefit the Trade Mark Hunter/Trade Mark- Nexus??, In any way, on merit, in any case Trade Mark is not registered. Secondly ultimately MCN who owns Trade Mark in ‘issue’, with its Trans border Reputation and international IPR rights will succeed under Local IPR regime, as they are already operating and registered with their earlier Trade Name and Marks. Here, we all must remind ourselves that Trade Mark Hunter, take the advantage of following.
a) Timing of the dispute.
b) Launch if delayed, will earn the bad name to the reputation of the Company, among its Stake holder and Investors. But as whole delay in launch, will cost multi billion Dollars, of even single day, delay.
c) Slow process and procedures of adjudication system in deciding the cases.
d) Immense pressure on stake holder in ‘Distribution line’ and ‘Value Chain Organs’.
e) Competitors may take advantage and grab the ‘market share’ of the Product in line. Etc.
f) Arraignments and agreements with local vendors and Online platforms delay will also effect entire business and market of the Foreign MNC. etc.
The final and possible option, which could be out of Tribunal/Court settlement and Trade Mark Hunter has killed its prey’, and secured itself handsome settlement amount by abandoning or withdrawing its application/case.
Though, such practice does not always work, because it sets wrong precedents against the Company and may go wrong for future ventures. However they are not made public and done so discreetly that it seems that Company, succeeded on merit and by following process. The latest in the news of Trade Mark Hunting, is the launch of Sony’s much waited launch of PS- 5. Information from Marko Reactor finds that the trademark for the PS-5 name in India was filed on October 29, 2019, by one party, almost three months before Sony applied for the trademark.
As it stands, the filing is currently contested. According to the report, despite the fact that the company is expected to win the case, this could delay the launching of the console in India.
This is not the first time a big tech company has had to deal with trademark and naming rights issues in the country. Taiwanese multinational ASUS, also had a similar issue with the launch of their phone series, Zenfone last year.
The point for us to understand is that the contest is not of securing the Mark for Trade Mark Hunter/ Nexus’s business. The purpose is to break the deal and trouble the foreign Company which has so high value attached to the mark, which in any case, would not be the Value, of that level to the Nexus. One very vital point we all must not miss, the more than the Value, associated with of Trade Mark, it is the stake and value associated with the ‘Timing of Dispute!
So, this leads to next question what is the solution, which I shall try and answer in next post. Comments and suggestion, solutions are welcomed.
Encl : https://youtu.be/SMqSWoj_7EA
Disclaimer: The view and opinion expressed in the post/write- up are solely of the Author and nothings to be construed as allegation or parody or giving bad name or tarnishing the name or image of any person/party or individual . The example are taken from news reports available in public domain just for academic purpose and illustration, it may not be construed to adversely, nothing to effect the ongoing case/s or otherwise.