Thursday, November 27, 2008

Copyright for Sounds - Yahoo's "yodel" sound - Trademark under Indian Trademarks Act

The Indian Trademark Registry recently registered Yahoo's 'yodel' sound as a trademark, the first time statutory protection had been accorded to a sound mark in India. 

Indian Trademarks Act does not specifically mention or define unconventional trademarks such as smell, colour, taste and sound marks.

To comply with its obligations as a World Trade Organisation (WTO) member, and in accordance with the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), India introduced significant changes to its trademark legislation in 2003.

The definition of 'trademark' as "a mark capable of being represented graphically and which is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one person from those of others".

Although this definition is sufficiently broad to include sound marks, none had been registered until Yahoo's 'yodel' sound was granted statutory protection under the Act.

There is a lack of clarity as to the procedures and criteria for the registration of sound marks, these are expected to evolve with time as the Registry examines more registration applications.

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