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Difference Between Word Mark and Device Mark – Trademark in India

If something is eternally permanent, it changes. Further, legal disputes are forever. If there is nothing to fight over, disputes will relate to ‘no issues’ like the political world. The mega-commercial world of big business and e-commerce nowadays depends heavily upon brands. Products, companies, and even individuals represent brands. Extensive media surround daily life via several screens, and most of them deal with such brands, many easily recognized. Whether it is soaps or cars, books or shoes, big brands are everywhere.

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Along with numerous brand names, some of which have survived for generations, you also have images, logos, symbols, and signature music. The names become so much more interesting in vibrant colors and designs with artistic or photographic depth.
Mass media advertising adds moving images and sound effects for an immersive experience. Selling remains the heart of the campaign, of course.

Word Marks are the most common trademarks.

In this forest of media that assault the senses all the time, brand names or words are the most well-known. Whether it is a clever idea or gimmicks like TOSS or an honoured company proprietor name like TED, the language and the alphabet come first. Most logos and symbols representing products and companies would not have a rigorous impact without the brand name. Just like we learned the words first in school, these names of products are represented in the most important words.
If you decided to set up a factory to manufacture biscuits, the first thought would be a suitably dramatic word to represent the brand. Using the word CRUNCHY as an example, let us say that you decided to register it as a wordmark.
However, you can go beyond a single word and add other letters or expand it into a slogan or tagline.

How about a few examples?

Each could serve as a trademark that consists of words and letters alone though numerals could be added too. Registrations of the wordmark would mean that you have the authority to use the wordmark and nobody else, though there might be close variations. If somebody copied your trademark, it might end up as a case in court unless the two parties come to a mutual settlement.

Are trademarks all that simple?

Consider the complexity of digital media and the marketing forces that constantly influence potential buyers with sweet campaigns. It would help if you certainly had far more than words alone though names could appear gigantic in terms of global brand influence like Japan’s electronics giants.

Logos, Pictures, and Drawings

With those resounding words, don’t you think we need an attractive image or logo, picture, or drawing to heighten the effect? According to the nature of the product, the accompanying photograph illustrates the depth like a picture book with words and pictures working together. Living in a digital world where millions of images and videos are exchanged every day, we understand the idea well.

Registration of Device Marks

If you decide to use the CRUNCHY along with an image of a child holding a biscuit and a company logo, too, it is considered a device mark. Like the words and numerals earlier associated with CRUNCHY, you now enjoy the privilege of using the combination of words and images, logos and pictures.

Court Disputes that result in fines and damages

A glance at the print or television media and the internet convinces that too many companies for similar products use wordmarks and device marks that seem somewhat similar. We would expect some similarities between the hotels or tour companies. It does get confusing, and it is commonly known that fake websites and pirated goods are constantly trying to copy websites and brand names. Stealing reputations and passing off fakes as genuine products is the intention. How can minimized fraud be a big question and can find no easy solutions?

Color, Shape, Sound and 3D trademark combinations

How can we wish that trademarks and their registrations are simplified! The business rivalry will not let you work in peace, especially the successful ones. Stealing the thunder seems to be the norm in this world of ‘survival of the fittest.’ What about the differences between Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola? The words in common differ, and the colors and fonts, advertising, music, and adverts need to be protected.

Distinctive colors or color combinations

Not every brand uses device marks or requires one. A wordmark with unique color designs could be powerful even without logos and emblems. Could connect the color design with or without the logo with the product in the customers’ minds. Registration of such an exceptional color or color design could become a plus point.

A variety of shapes boggle the imagination!

Whether sweets or bread, toys, and gadgets, intriguing new shapes render the product more attractive with fanciful inventions. Bottles and tins, phones, and chocolates are further examples. Shapes and packaging designs help to identify products in the mall shelves piled high with dozens of brands.

Signatures tunes

Indeed, one should have figured sounds earlier in the list. Music and lyrics, sounds, and tunes help connect minds with brands, services, and companies. Such sound symbols serve essential purposes, and plagiarism cannot be risked that could destroy reputations. Make sure they are registered early, giving you the single rights over its use.

The third dimension matters too.

We no longer live in a monochrome world or 2D. By using space and technology imaginatively, 3D products and packaging bring fanciful interest and titillate the senses. They need to be registered to escape from the fear of copying and illicit use, perhaps in faraway countries and continents.

Court judgments are the final authority.

The media does reflect from time to time the disputes that arise from the use and misuse of trademarks. Sometimes, it is mega-companies that fight over seemingly petty matters. If you cannot otherwise settle disputes, the court will decide one way or the other.

The case involving the terms Ayur and Ayu

Both terms appear similar and connected to the word Ayurveda which is a system of traditional Indian medicine. According to the plaintiff, they have exclusive rights through the registration of both terms Ayur and Ayu. The plaintiff complains that the defendant has applied to register the following terms:
Such clashing of interests is relatively common in the big, imperfect business world. According to the plaintiff, they use the terms Ayur and Ayu in manufacturing and selling essential oils, hair lotions, cosmetics, and shampoo.

Montblanc and New Delhi Stationery mart

Wordmarks Spacewalker and Starwalker can probably confuse public minds. Defendant used Spacewalker. Plaintiff has the word mark Starwalker. Is it a case of infringement of registration rights? The dispute concerns a three-ringed device, the shape, and configuration too.

Shambu Nath and Imran Khan

The whole trademark needs to be considered in entirety rather than the individual details. The entire brand needs to be compared and how it relates to the product being purchased. When a conflict arises, the comparison should consider the total effect.

Arvind and Hahnemann Laboratories

In words EYELEX and EYETEX, EYE is the generic term common to both. The defendant used LEX. LEX and TEX are pretty similar and may result in confusion. EYETEX was registered as a word mark and a device mark with an artistic drawing of a lady’s eye.

Praba’s V Care Clinic and I-care Clinic

Like public rights and public property, CARE is a term that nobody can own. The comparison needs to be made on the whole wordmark rather than the word CARE alone. The wordmark V CARE refers to a range of products like herbal supplements and fungal preparations.

Girnar Tea and Brooke Bond

The defendant has used the word GULNAR, and the plaintiff wishes to prevent utilizing the word GULNAR in any form

Living Media India and Alpha Deacon

Can the magazine contents of INDIA TODAY be read online to be compared to a news channel on television? Comparing INDIA TODAY and NATION TODAY, the word INDIA is a relatively small font compared to TODAY. In the other case, TODAY has a smaller font compared to NATION.

Sunil Mittal and Darzi On Call

The comparison should be made in totality, and splitting the word mark or device mark into parts should be avoided to get at the complete picture. The essentially important feature should be considered and the likelihood of similarity. The word DARZI is found to be similar.

Ansari Bilal and Shafeeque Ahmed

The defendant claims that the calligraphy they have used is quite different from what the plaintiff used. Quoting the registration number, the plaintiff claims ownership of the word mark NAGEENA. The plaintiff has also applied for the word mark SUKOONM, and registration is pending.

About Setindiabiz

Setindiabiz is an organized team of experienced CA, CS, & Lawyers, duly supported by a pool of trained accountants & paralegal staff that provides quality & affordable compliance services to startups & small businesses in India. The views, statements and recommendations expressed in this article or post are only for the sole objective of providing information, and it does not constitute professional advice or recommendation of the company. Neither the author nor the company or its affiliates accepts any liability for any loss or damage arising from any information in this article or any actions taken in reliance thereon.

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