Sound Marks: Blessing in Disguise !!

“The hero was distinguished by his achievement; the celebrity by his image or trademark. The hero created himself; the celebrity is created by the media. The hero was a big man; the celebrity is a big name.”

Many people consider trademarks just words and/or logos. However, as both innovation and the way we utilize it turn out to be more advanced, the significance of non-conventional marks such as sound marks, for promotion of brands, is unquestionable. Consumers find it convenient to identify a specific item or service by reference to a specific jingle, song , music and voice. For this the consumers will get a protection over it.

Issues pertaining to trademark are very frequent but when it comes to sound marks the scenario is different because with sound an individual reputation is at stake, In relation to this ,recently Mr. Amitabh bachan came up with issue when Amitabh alike voice in advertisement of a tobacco product, and stated this copying of his voice is highly unethical, especially when these activities are against his in the today’s time Amitabh is one of the most copied actors, and he want to get Copyright over his baritone.

However, if we look at the law of copyright in India, It does not provide protection on the voice. Copyright law provides protection to the Expression of an Idea not on the idea itself. For an illustration If Amitabh Bachchan records something in his voice, then he can get protection on that work. But getting protection on the voice per se is highly unlikely in light of the Indian Law. Voice unless expressing an idea, does not fulfils the criteria of section 2(y) and section 13 of the Copyright Act.

But now the latest amendment has eased out the complete process. As a result, a rise in number of applications to register Sound marks can be expected. The new provision requires the sound to be submitted in MP3 format not exceeding 30 sec length, graphical representation of the sound notations sound performs the trademark function of uniquely identifying the commercial origin of products or services with TM-A form. Earlier, to register a sound mark, the applicants had to file applications with graphical representation or by spelling out the tune.

Registration is not given to the sound marks on the basis of sound per se only, it has to perform function to get registration, it’s highly unlikely to the name which are famous in the society e.g. Celebrities, Political person etc., anybody can use their for any purpose which is against the society, so IPO has to come up with a solution.

This post has been contributed by Saransh Vijay, a penultimate techno legal student at School of Law, UPES University.

L&P Editorial Team

The Law & Practice Blog's editorial team.

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