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Naresh Kumar (Student)     20 October 2010


Dear Experts,

What are the trademarks that are prohibited from Trademark Registration?


 5 Replies

R.Ramachandran (Advocate)     20 October 2010

Dear Mr.Naresh,

Section 9 of the Trade Marks act enumerates absolute grounds on which registration of a trade mark can be rejected.  Only these marks are known as 'prohibited trade marks'.

The section is quite clearly worded.  In case still if you have any doubt on any portion of the provision please indicate, so that the same can be clarified to you.


You may also referred the Emblem and Names Act generally, it is annexed with TM Act.


That's outdated. Outside India SWASTIKA Symbol plus others. Use search Engine.


Yes, the entire system of trade mark registration is out dated,operated by people who do not apply their mind at all while examining an application.The Prohibited marks - sometimes they accept such a mark for registration,sometimes they dont. For example, "Mysore" is a Geographical name and provisions is there to provide GI Mark for products of Mysore. But even now the TM Registry is registering marks with the word 'Mysore".So you can not decide what is a prohibited mark and what is not. It all'depends ' upon the 'mood' of the examiner who examines the trade mark application with such doubtful marks.



Grounds For Refusal

The TRADEMARK REGISTRY will refuse to register a mark if it does not function as a trademark or service mark.

Not all words, names, symbols or devices function as trademarks. For example, names which merely describe the goods on which it is used cannot be registered. You cannot register the mark "computer", for example, for a laptop computer .

Additionally, Section 9, Section 11, Section 13,section 80 of the Trademark Act contains several of the most common (though not the only) grounds for refusing registration. The grounds for refusal under Section 2 Section 9, Section 11, Section 13, Section 80 may be summarized as:

1. The proposed mark consists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter

2. The proposed mark may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons (living or dead), institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt or disrepute

3. The proposed mark consists of or comprises the flag or coat of arms, or other insignia of a country, or of any State or municipality, or of any foreign nation

4. The usage of the proposed mark is prohibited under the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use )Act,1950

5. The proposed mark so resembles a mark already registered in the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) that use of the mark on applicant's goods or services are likely to cause confusion, mistake, or deception

6. The proposed mark is merely descripttive or deceptively misdescripttive of applicant's goods or services

7. The proposed mark is primarily geographically descripttive or deceptively geographically misdescripttive of applicant's goods or services

8. The proposed mark is primarily merely a surname; and

9. Matter that, as a whole, is functional



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