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Madras High Court rejects Kerala RTC’s petition against Karnataka KSRTC’s name usage

The Madras High Court dismissed Kerala RTC's challenge against KSRTC's 'KSRTC' trademark, citing Karnataka RTC's long-term usage rights. The dispute, spanning from trademark applications to IPAB hearings, culminated in the High Court's ruling favoring KSRTC, ending the legal battle.

Madras High Court rejects Kerala RTC's petition against Karnataka KSRTC's name usage vkp
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First Published Dec 16, 2023, 10:50 AM IST

The Madras High Court has dismissed a challenge petition filed by the Kerala Road Transport Corporation (Kerala RTC), allowing the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) to continue using the 'KSRTC' abbreviation without legal constraints.

The dispute originated when the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation applied for a trademark certificate for 'KSRTC' with the Government of India's Trade Mark Registry in 2013. Notably, the organization had been granted trademark certificates for this abbreviation since November 1, 1973, along with copyrights for the 'KSRTC' logo and the 'Gandabherunda mark' from the Registrar of Copyrights, Government of India.

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The Kerala RTC contested this move before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board in Chennai, asserting its right to use the 'KSRTC' acronym. However, KSRTC argued that Kerala RTC was well aware of the Karnataka RTC's use of the trademark for 42 years, challenging the validity of Kerala RTC's objection to KSRTC's trademark registration.

In 2019, Kerala RTC acquired a registration allowing it to use the previous acronym 'KSRTC.' Subsequently, with the central government's abolition of the IPAB, pending cases were transferred to the Madras High Court in Chennai. On December 12, the case reached the Madras High Court, which dismissed the petitions filed by Kerala RTC.

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