KVIC seeks international trademark for ‘Charkha’ under Paris Convention: Know what is it

FE Online
kvic charkha international trademark

In a bid to prevent the misuse of ‘Charkha’ symbol internationally, Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has taken up the matter with the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Commerce & Permanent Mission of India at UN. This is for the first time when KVIC has sought international trademark protection of the symbol of ‘Charkha’ under Article 6ter of Paris Convention. Talking about the initiative, KVIC chairman VK Saxena said: "The word marks "KHADI", "KUTIR", "SARVODAYA" and the logo of Khadi India and Charkha are the harbinger of this spirit of Swadeshi, hence, must be protected at all cost".

Saxena has written to Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, seeking his intervention to expedite the matter pending with the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) which comes under the Ministry of Commerce.

What is Article 6ter of the Paris Convention?

Article 6ter of the Paris Convention provides protection to flags and emblems of the member states who are party to the Paris Convention. It also protects the names and emblems of international intergovernmental organizations against unauthorized registration and use of trademarks.

According to World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) website, Article 6ter of Paris Convention aims to protect "armorial bearings, flags and other State emblems" of the member states party to the Convention, including their official signs and hallmarks.

To claim protection under the said article of the Paris Convention, the member state party to the convention is required to be communicated to the International Bureau of WIPO, which will then communicate it to the other states party to the convention.

WIPO’s official website says, "he purpose of Article 6ter is to prohibit the registration and use of trademarks which are identical to, or present a certain similarity with the above–mentioned emblems or official signs."

International protection of the KHADI trademark and ‘Charkha’ symbol, will give a boost to KVIC’s efforts at promoting brand Khadi internationally.

As many as 177 countries, including India, are party to the Paris Convention.

Notice to 600 firms!

The KVIC has taken several initiatives in recent years to protect the ‘KHADI’ trademark. KVIC is the registered proprietor of over a hundred trademark registrations, including the symbol of "Charkha" in India and other countries like Russia, China, Germany, Australia, UK and Bhutan, the MSME ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

KVIC has been fighting cases in several countries for violation of the Khadi Mark Regulations issued by the Ministry of MSME in 2013. These regulations empowered KVIC to grant 'Khadi Mark' registration and take royalties from any producer using the Khadi Mark.

So far, KVIC has issued notices against 600 entities in India and three entities in the International market for misusing these symbols and indulging in unfair trade practices in the recent past, MSME ministry said.