IPAB rules in favour of CNN in trademark battle against GNN India

MUMBAI: Turner Broadcasting System’s owned news broadcaster CNN has won the trademark battle against GNN India, which was founded by former Union minister Matang Sinh’s wife Manoranjana Sinh in 2009.

The company had filed a case against GNN India in the Chennai bench of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) headed by Justice Manmohan Singh. The American media company had alleged that the ‘GNN’ trademark being used by GNN India is similar to ‘CNN’ trademark.

While issuing an order in February, the IFAB Chennai bench stated that the trademark ‘GNN’ adopted by the Indian firm is “confusingly and deceptively” similar to the American media companies trademark ‘CNN’.

It also stated that GNN India has cleverly structured the impugned mark ‘GNN’ with a view to coming close to the ‘CNN’ trademark.

The bench also asked the registrar of trademarks to remove the Indian firm’s ‘GNN’ trademark from the trademark register.

CNN had moved the IPAB in April 2014 after the trademark came to its notice.

The Indian firm neither appeared before the board nor did it file any counter-replies. “The company has not been able to justify how it hit upon an identical mark as an imitation of the trademark of CNN,” the order said.

The bench also noted that the onus of identifying bogus trademarks lies with the registrar of trademarks being the public authority on the subject matter.

“The objective of maintaining a trademark register is that the public should know whose goods they are buying and with whom particular goods are associated,” the order stated.

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