Television

CNN triumphs in trademark battle against GNN India

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MUMBAI: Four years on, US cable and satellite television giant CNN has finally won a trademark battle against media company GNN India Ltd (GNN) after taking it to court for using a similar logo.

The Chennai bench of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB), headed by Justice Manmohan Singh, while issuing an order in February this year, said the Indian firm adopted the trademark ‘GNN’ that is confusingly and deceptively similar to the American media company’s trademark ‘CNN’.

The bench also directed the registrar of trademarks to remove the already registered trademark of the Indian company from the trademark register. “The respondent (GNN) has cleverly structured the impugned mark ‘GNN’ with a view to coming close to the ‘CNN’ trademark,” the order said.

GNN was founded in 2009 by Manoranjana Sinh, estranged wife of former Union minister Matang Sinh. Both of them were arrested by the CBI separately for their alleged involvement in the Rs 2,000 crore Saradha chit fund scam.

The American news channel moved the IPAB in April 2014 after it learned of the impugned mark being registered with the trademark register.

The IPAB chairman, while issuing his final order in the case, observed that the Indian firm had adopted the original trademark with bad faith.

“From an overall comparison of the marks, it is apparent that the rival marks are extremely similar. As such it will lead to a likelihood of association with the brand ‘CNN’ whose services, being broadcasting and telecommunication, are virtually identical,” the order stated, adding that it clearly displays the Indian firm’s unlawful intent to trade upon the goodwill and worldwide reputation associated with the ‘CNN’ trademark.

GNN did not file any counter statement nor did it appear on the dates on which it was summoned by the appellate board. “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 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 added.

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