Gets it registered as a trademark; Kerala cries foul, say its corporation was set up 20 years before
The Karnataka government, which is mired in a raging cold war with neighbouring Andhra Pradesh over wooing of investors to the state, has now got itself into a tangle with Kerala over the brand name ‘KSRTC’, which is used by the state-run transport corporations of both the states.
The dispute has become bitter over who should use the brand name — Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation, or its Kerala counterpart! Karnataka took Kerala by surprise when it successfully registered and got ownership over the ‘KSRTC’ brand, with the Gandaberunda icon (two-headed mythical bird).
Kerala, which is crying foul over Karnataka’s move, is now appealing before the Registrar of Trademarks under the Controller General of Patents Designs and Trademarks, affiliated to the Union Ministry of Industries.
According to sources in the state government, the tussle began with Karnataka applying for trademark licence with the Registrar of Trademarks in December 2013. After a hearing, the registrar awarded the brand and trademark of KSRTC to Karnataka four months ago.
Recently, official so f Karnataka took objection to Kerala also using the same brand for a similar service.
They dashed off a letter to their Kerala counterparts a month ago directing them not to use the brand KSRTC.
Speaking to Bangalore Mirror, Rajendra Kumar Kataria, Managing Director, KSRTC, said, “We wrote a letter a month ago to Kerala with all the documentary evidences and certificate issued in favour of us by the Registrar and requested them not to use the brand name KSRTC for any of their transport services. It is through legal means that we got the brand registered with us.”
IN THE DARK
The letter shocked Kerala State Road Transport Corporation authorities! According to Antony Chacko, Managing Director of that corporation, they were completely in the dark about the entire proceedings.
“It is true that Karnataka has written to us not to use the brand name KSRTC and we got to know about their legal acquisition only last week,” he told Bangalore Mirror.
Asked whether Kerala will stop using the brand name KSRTC, Chacko replied, “They (Karnataka) have obtained the trademark without our knowledge. How could they do it? This is unfair. We have been operating our services since 1953 whereas Karnataka began its operations much later in 1974. We will fight it out legally and our legal department is in the process of appealing before the trademark authority. Our advocates will be replying to the requests of Karnataka.” Responding to Kerala’s preparations to appeal before the Registrar of Trademarks, Kataria said, “There was nothing illegal done at any stage. We have done everything on legal grounds. It doesn’t matter whether our services were launched later or earlier than theirs. What matters is the date of brand name registration. It is valid from the time of registration.
It is the same in the case of Basmati or any other product. We have acted accordingly and we are the official owners of the brand KSRTC.”
News: Bangalore Mirror