The story and fate of Khadi trademark

It is nothing new for us as we have had similar past experiences and spent a few crores of exchequer’s money to defend against biopiracy and intellectual property theft. Patenting of Turmeric and Neem, trademarking of Basmati in the past do not fade away easily. History now repeats itself and this time it is the Khadi trademark which is under dispute.

The German company, named Khadi Natureprodukte GbR, has registered ‘Khadi’ as a trademark with the European agency, OHIM (Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market). Spain-based OHIM is the nodal agency looking after Trademarks and Design Registration in the European Union. The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), a statutory body engaged in promoting and developing khadi and village industries, has sought de-registration of ‘Khadi’ trademark granted to this German company, Parliament was informed today.

However, another eyebrow-raising face is that KVIC itself has not renewed nearly 37 trademark registrations and failed to monitor 8 other registrations held by private proprietors. Some of the expired trademarks with KVIC were registered as early as in 1979, while the latest application date is 2003.

It is clearly evident that intellectual property protection is still not adequately understood by the government. While the fact remains so, it is quite understandable what individuals and business entities can expect.

This clearly points out the fact that lodging applications is not the end solution, but constant and diligent monitoring for infringements so prompt actions can be taken.