Karnataka wins legal battle over ‘KSRTC’ as Kerala loses the case

Both Karnataka and Kerala SRTCs have been using the abbreviation KSRTC for many decades now. However, Karnataka RTC registered the abbreviation and its logo with the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks

December 15, 2023 06:23 pm | Updated December 16, 2023 01:44 am IST - Bengaluru

A view of KSRTC buses at Kepmegowda bus stand. File

A view of KSRTC buses at Kepmegowda bus stand. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Following a prolonged legal struggle for intellectual property rights, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation has secured legal ownership of its trademarks, including the abbreviation KSRTC.

Both Karnataka and Kerala SRTCs have been using the abbreviation KSRTC for many decades now. However, Karnataka SRTC registered the abbreviation and its logo with the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks. In a release on Friday, KSRTC said that the Madras High Court had said that there was no legal prohibition for the use of KSRTC by Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation, and that the court had dismissed Kerala SRTC’s claim for exclusive use of KSRTC abbreviation.

“KSRTC had applied for a grant of Trade Mark Certificate for the use of the ‘KSRTC’ abbreviation. The corporation was granted Trade Mark Certificates by the Trade Mark Registry of the Government of India in 2013 with a user date of 1.11.1973. Copyright is also obtained from the Registrar of Copy Rights for the use of the ‘KSRTC’ logo and ‘Gandabherunda art’,” KSRTC said.

“Thereafter, Kerala State Road Transport Corporation has challenged the same before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) at Chennai. KSRTC has contended that Kerala State Road Transport Corporation is aware of the use of the trade mark by the Karnataka SRTC for 42 years, and hence, they are not entitled to apply for a declaration that the registration of the later trade mark is invalid since they have acquiesced the usage of the mark by Karnataka SRTC,” release added.

The Kerala RTC, too, has obtained registration of the marks in 2019, claiming prior use. The matters that were pending before the IPAB were transferred to the High Court of Madras at Chennai after the abolition of IPAB by the Central Government.

“The matter was posted before the High Court of Madras on December 12, and the High Court has dismissed the application filed by Kerala SRTC and the case is decided in favour of Karnataka SRTC. In view of the dismissal of the case filed by Kerala SRTC, the Karnataka SRTC has no legal hurdle to use the name “KSRTC’’ in future also,” KSRTC release stated.

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