Television

What’s in a name: Should BARC India withdraw from trademark registry?

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MUMBAI: William Shakespeare once said, “What’s in a name,” but when he said that little did he know that even an acronym could become a cause of concern!

In a recent development, the new television viewership measurement body, Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India was sent a letter by Trombay based nuclear research organisation Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC). Wondering why? Well, it was for using the same acronym: BARC.

The newly launched television measurement body has been having a lot of teething problems. Not only does it have to deal with the anxiety of broadcasters and advertisers, who are still getting used to the numbers released every Wednesday starting 29 April, but it has also been in news for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting asking it to stop releasing data till the registration process was complete. While this was resolved and BARC India continued releasing its data, it has got into trouble now for using the acronym BARC.

As reported by Economic Times, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre controller R P Raju in his letter to the Broadcast Audience Research Council has said that the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre has been using the acronym for decades and is popularly known by it. Thus, according to Raju, the acronym ‘BARC’ should be for the exclusive use of the institution and not be used by the measurement body.

Taking it a step further, Raju has now taken up the issue with the trademark registry for registration. BARC controller, vide his letter, has asked Broadcast Audience Research Council to immediately stop using the acronym 'BARC' and also withdraw applications filed by it with the trademark registry for registration of the same trademark.

While BARC India CEO Partho Dasgupta did not respond to Indiantelevision.com’s calls or messages, an industry source informed that the rating agency’s legal team is now looking into the issue.

The big question now is: ‘Is there any need for BARC India to withdraw its registration?’

According to media analysts, Broadcast Audience Research Council is far from any trouble. It can be recalled that the ratings body had in July 2014 changed its logo, giving it the shape of a Rubik’s Cube. Another change, which took place, then was that the word ‘India’ was added to the logo. Thus, BARC became BARC India. While its website URL always contained India (www.barcindia.co.in), the logo donned the acronym BARC, which all changed in July, last year.

Another point, which can be noted is that Broadcast Audience Research Council is not the only one using the acronym BARC. For instance, Bangalore Analytical Research Centre, an engineering and environment service provider too uses the same acronym. Log on to www.barcindia.com and you can be introduced to another BARC. So will Bhabha Atomic Research Centre go behind it as well?

Not only this, if one visits the television measurement body’s website, the acronym used is BARC India and not BARC.

While the legal team at BARC India is busy framing their responses, we at Indiantelevision.com hope that the ratings body remains in news only for its television viewership numbers.

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