Jibe sparks trademark application for “Namo Tea Party” in Class 45

Controversial Remarks

The controversial remarks from opponent political parties over Mr. Narendra Modi’s as a Prime Ministerial candidate seem to have worked a lot in Mr. Modi’s favor.  While BJP is moving ahead with its chai pe charcha campaign to gather massive support from public for its Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, some of his supporters went an extra mile by seeking trademark registration for ‘NaMo Tea Party‘.

namo tea party

The ‘Chai pe Charcha‘ (discussion over tea) campaign was first launched by BJP to counter a jibe made by a Congress leader at Narendra Modi (NaMo) for selling tea in his earlier years.

Application for “NaMo Tea Party™” in Class 45

Mr. Shailesh Tiwari, based in Ahmedabad, who calls himself convener of ‘Namo Tea Party’ movement went ahead and lodged a trademark application on February 6, 2014 in Class 45.  The service description reads, “PERSONAL AND SOCIAL SERVICES RENDERED TO MEET THE NEEDS OF INDIVIDUALS.”  Media sources report that Mr. Tiwari told that the logic behind the move to get ‘NaMo Tea Party’ trademark is to ensure that the idea is not taken by anyone else and there is no commercial motive behind the application.

As per the trademark application, the first use of mark was slated to be on May 31, 2013, according to information available with the Controller General of Patents Design & Trade Marks.

An analysis – a trademark or collective mark?

One cannot stop from wondering whether it would have been more appropriate if it was indeed a collective mark application as opposed to trademark since there is a lot of room for dilution. As per the applicant’s statement, the trademark is meant for use by the supporting group and thereby the mark is to be used and exploited by all party or members of supporting group, so it would have made more sense if it was a collective trademark.  A collective mark would have been a good strategy and probably opened more windows to extensively exploit this mark all over the country. On a separate note, our trademark office does not call for proof of use at the time of filing a trademark application and only at the time of examination, the applicant, if deemed necessary by the examiner, would be asked to produce evidences supporting usage.

Our findings – Errors!

First use of Mark – is it May 31, 2013 or May 1, 2013?  As per the application, the first date of use was May 1, 2013, but the public records available on ipindia.nic.in shows it to be May 31, 2013.

Other parties to follow this route?

The ultimate motive behind this seems to protect the name from being used by someone else or misused. The Nation has so complexly evolved politically that even a political party has to seek protection through Trademark Laws.  These instances are more common in foreign countries but not something common here.  We can expect to see a lot more applications from other political parties from other parts of the country.

At this point we wish the applicant and the party all the best!