Chennai: CNN, the American basic cable and satellite television news channel owned by the Turner Broadcasting System has won a trademark battle with media firm GNN India Limited for using a similar logo.
The Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) headed by Justice Manmohan Singh in Chennai, while issuing an order said,“the Indian firm adopted the trademark ‘GNN’ which is confusingly and deceptively similar to the American media companies trademark ‘CNN’”.
The bench directed the registrar of trademarks to remove the already registered trademark of the Indian firm from the trademark register. “The respondent (GNN India Limited) has cleverly structured the impugned mark ‘GNN’ with a view to coming close to the ‘CNN’ trademark,” the order said.
Manoranjana Sinh, the estranged wife of former Union minister Matang Sinh, founded GNN in 2009, Both of them were arrested by the CBI separately for their alleged involvement in the Rs 2,000 crore Saradha Chit Fund Scam.
CNN moved the IPAB in April 2014 after it learned of the impugned mark being registered with the trademark register.
The IPAB chairman, while issuing his final order in the case, observed that the Indian firm had adopted the original trademark with bad faith.
“From an overall comparison of the marks, it is apparent that the rival marks are extremely similar. As such it will lead to a likelihood of association with the brand ‘CNN’ whose services, being broadcasting and telecommunication, are virtually identical,” the order stated, adding that it clearly displays the Indian firm’s unlawful intent to trade upon the goodwill and worldwide reputation associated with the ‘CNN’ trademark.
The Indian firm did not file any counter statement nor did it appear on the dates on which it was summoned by the appellate board. “The company has not been able to justify how it hit upon an identical mark as an imitation of the trademark of CNN,” the order said.
The IPAB bench also said the onus lies more on the registrar of trademarks as it is the public authority and has a primary duty towards the public.
“The objective of maintaining a trademark register is that the public should know whose goods they are buying and with whom particular goods are associated,” the order stated.