Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court has initiated a suo motu case against the decision of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks to grant certificate of trademark on the picture of the deity of Attukal Devi temple and the description that the temple is a ‘Sabarimala of women.’

The Bench, comprising Chief Justice B.R. Bannurmath and Justice Kurian Joseph, initiated the case on the basis of a petition faxed by Praveen Raj of Thiruvananthapuram. According to him, the temple trust had got the certificate of trademark from the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks on March 9, 2009 to exclusively use the picture and the appellation. The trust had claimed that it would help prevent unauthorised use of the picture and the title.

Petitioner’s version

The petitioner said that the use of religious symbols could not be equated to trade. The trademark certification was intended for commercial advantage. Trademark indicated the source of manufacture or trade origin of the goods or services and thus protected the ‘goodwill’ of the undertaking. It was not fair for the temple trust to call itself a business undertaking and proprietor of a trade.

The action of the temple authorities sent a wrong message that a place of worship was a “business outfit.”

The petition sought to revoke the certificate.