Indian TM case 2018

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On Jan 30 2018, OIF (Zürich) applied for a trademark of "OSHO" in India through the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Such applications are usually granted automatically after a certain period has passed to allow any other parties who might have an interest to contest the application.

As such, there is normally not a "case", but OIF's application was "provisionally" refused on May 8 2018. See below under "see also" for a link to complete details of this refusal. The grounds given for refusal were: "The objection is raised under S 11 (1) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999, as the mark is identical with or similar to earlier marks in respect of identical or similar description of goods or services and because of such identity or similarity there exists a likelihood of confusion on the part of the public".

There were four "earlier marks" cited, though these too were actually only applications for trademarks which had not been granted but status was "opposed": two from Mukesh Sarda, likely acting for OIF, in 1994, one from Atul Anand, likely acting for Osho Dhyan Mandir (the Osho World folks) in New Delhi, in 1999, and one from a Binu Sukumar in 2011.

OIF appealed this refusal but there is so far no resolution of the case. A further impediment to resolution in OIF's favour was added on Nov 24 2020, when Ma Yoga Videh (Vaidehe Vadgama) and Sw Chidananda (Alvaro Ruffo della Scaletta) filed a petition objecting to the granting of the proposed trademark. Videh and Chidananda were already involved in a series of legal actions against some members of the board of OIF, seeking to hold them to account for their participation in the alleged forgery of Osho's Last Will and Testament -- see Osho's fake will for more on that. The "series of legal actions" referred to were attempts to get Indian authorities to investigate the allegations and then press charges, pursued through one court after another, in appeal after appeal. The latest case in that series, which was ongoing when they filed their trademark objection, began in 2019 and was taking place in Bombay High Court.

In their "Interlocutory Petition", they asked in their prayer1 that the decision on the trademark "Osho" should be suspended until there is a final decision on the alleged will criminal case. As of Dec 2021, both cases are still pending.

All of OIF's relevant documents as well as Videh and Chidananda's Interlocutory Petition can be accessed at India's Trade Mark Registry.
Once there, click the "Trade Mark Indexes" button on the left.
On the next page, choose "Pending Marks" under "Index Type", type in "OSHO" in the "Search For" field, in the "Class" field, go down and click "41", enter the captcha (the funny numbers) and click on "Search".
Plain "OSHO" is in the short list of search results, click on the link 3783734.
You have arrived!
You will notice that the Status is: OBJECTED
To view any documents, scroll down past the "Goods & Service Details" section, then click on any of the blue "View" buttons to access the documents. For Videh and Chidananda's petition, scroll down to the end, click on View. Their petition has three "Exhibits", with Exhibit B, the BHC 2019 Session 1 data, at p 19 of 84.

There have been no actual hearings yet in this case. IP India's site indicates that four were tentatively scheduled but there is no account of how any of them played out. Possibly covid canceled some but the last was to have been a "virtual hearing". See discussion for an alternative, more likely understanding about the hearings and their non-outcomes.

see also
Notification of provisional refusal of an international registration designating India
Trademarks and copyright

Footnotes

  1. "Prayer" in a legal context is a plaintiff's or petitioner's specific, sometimes very detailed request for judgment, relief and/or damages at the conclusion of a complaint or petition.