As the name suggests well known trademarks are the trademarks or the brand name which have gained an enviable reputation among the masses and these brands are so huge that irrespective of their functioning or association with a particular product or class, people tend to associate a reference towards them with any product that use their name.
Let us explain this concept with an example, we all are aware of brand name TATA, this brand has numerous business and is well known across the globe. Suppose TATA do not sell bicycles and do not have a trademark registered in class covering bicycles in India. Technically, its brand name in this class is available right! Because this is what we have understood over the time, that a brand name that is registered in a particular class has a monopoly in that specific class only. And the brand name is available in other classes, where it is not registered.
But this not the case applicable in case of well known marks, because these marks have gained such a huge reputation over the time that general public will tend to associate anything or everything that uses any name similar to their name as their product or services, which will create confusion about the original owner of the goods or services.
So even if TATA the brand is available in class of cycles it will not given to the applicant, because in general the public will tend to think that the cycle company or applicant selling it has a relation with brand TATA and they will trust that brand quality because of the name so chosen, as TATA brand name has gained this reputation over the time.
In order to avoid this confusion among public and to reduce probable cases of duping or cheating with respect to quality of the product, the court recognizes few brand names a well known marks.
These well known marks even if not registered in all the trademark classes, have a special protection and cannot be used as a brand name.
The list of well known trademarks is revised and published time to time.
Here are the few examples of well known marks, such BAJAJ, BISLERI,BENZ etc.
You may have an access of entire list of well known Trademarks here .
So, generally use of any designated well known mark even if it is available in a particular class shall be avoided.
To learn more about how to choose a right trademark you may refer popular blog post on how to register a trademark.
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