STEEL AUTHORITY OF INDIA (SAIL) CLAIMS FOR TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT

It was reported recently in an Indian daily newspaper that SAIL intended claiming a large sum damage from a re-roller for misusing its trademark. SAIL, in an unusual step for a state-run company, is now taking action to defend its intellectual property rights. SAIL had also been advised of the manufacture of steel bars etc. by other companies who were illegally using their logo and trademark. SAIL has 18 registered product trademarks and obviously the marketing of such bogus products would be detrimental to purchasers as they would believe that they were buying SAIL’s quality.

This trend is not only detrimental to the company but damages its reputation and jeopardises the public, in case some of the fake products are used in major projects.
A matter also for consideration would be the difference in price of the two products.

One of the complaints was against a company using phoney TMT bars with the SAIL trademark on a highway expansion project. Clearly, not only is this a flagrant infringement of SAIL’s intellectual property rights but might also be damaging to the project in question. Another substitute for SAIL’s product was said to be used on a major flyover carried out by a company buying the TMT bars from a local re-roller.

Precautions now taken by SAIL are that a request has been made for the conversion agents to replace the manual imprinting of the trademark with machinery and posting their own officers at the agents’ premises where a RITES official could keep watch.

SAIL, however, has been quoted as saying that “the misuse of their logo and brand name is negligible when compared with the volume of material sold by them.”

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