The Trademarks Registry has ordered that the ‘Manjal' is a generic name and cannot be registered under Section 9(1) (b) of the Trademarks Act.

The entry pertaining to ‘Manjal' has since been removed ‘in the interest of public and purity of the Register' by an order by Ms N. D. Kasturi, Deputy Registrar of Trade Marks, at the Trademarks Registry, Chennai.

The trade mark ‘Manjal' was originally sought by Oriental Extractions, a healthcare products manufacturer based in Kerala, and published in the Trade Marks Journal in 2003.

Rectification move

The application for the rectification (removal of entry) was filed by Mr S. Siva Subramaniyam, another Kerala-based small-scale manufacturer of herbal bathing soap ‘Ayur Manjal.'

Divine Pharmaceuticals, the firm owned by Mr Subramaniam, had obtained a licence to market ‘Ayur Manjal' soaps and had subsequently applied to register the name as a trademark.

But it realised that another company Marico Ltd had by then become the new owner of trade marks ‘Manjal', ‘Maricos Manjal' and ‘Marico's Manjal.'

Rival parties found themselves using or intending to use the ‘Manjal' mark in the same market for similar goods. Marico Ltd went ahead and successfully filed for an interim injunction before the Delhi High Court to prevent Divine from using the word ‘Manjal.'

The Delhi High Court restrained Divine from using the trademark or any identical or deceptively similar mark. This even precipitated the seizure of Divine's goods from the market, forcing Divine to file an application for revocation of the trademark.

The Deputy Registrar's order noted that trade mark ‘Manjal' is a transliteration of a descriptive and commonly used word in Malayalam and Tamil languages (turmeric in English and haldi in Hindi).

In the instant case, the mark in respect of a ‘bathing soap' has also got direct reference to the character and quality of the goods and is highly descriptive.

No right

Given this, no particular proprietor can claim an exclusive right to use them as a trade mark since these words are considered common to the particular trade.

The trade mark is inherently capable of distinguishing between goods; extensive use of same and huge advertisement cannot make it registrable, the order said.

No amount of use will either confer on it a secondary meaning, especially the use in relation to a soap where the main ingredient is Manjal, the order said.