Zee Twenty20 cricket league seeks to use T20 as a trademark

Zee Twenty20 cricket league seeks to use T20 as a trademark

New Delhi: After launching a “rebel" Twenty20 league, the Zee group is now seeking to trademark T20 for its parallel cricket tournament which had invited the ire of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and International Cricket Council (ICC) earlier this year.

Zee’s unit Essel Sports Pvt. Ltd has applied for trademark registration of T20 under Class 28 of Trade Mark Rules, 2002, which deals with “games and playthings, gymnastic and sporting articles, decorations for Christmas trees," according to the latest list of trademark applications made public by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks.

The regulator made the proposal public in August through its journal. Any objections to the application will have to be made within three-four months, trademark lawyers say.

Twenty20 has become a buzzword in this cricket-mad country after India won the inaugural world championship in South Africa last year. Twenty20’s popularity rose even further during the first Indian Premier League (IPL) that saw cricketing icons from around the world participating in the tournament.

Lalit Modi, vice-president of BCCI and chairman of IPL, said the ICC has already registered the T20 trademark but he was not clear whether that was applicable to India or not.

He brushed aside Zee’s application. “Anybody can apply for one (trademark). We have several of our own so there will be no reason to contest Zee’s move," Modi said.

Zee’s Twenty20 league called Indian Cricket League has not been as successful after it was ostracized by the BCCI and the ICC as a rebel league.

“We were the first ones to introduce the 20-over cricket format in India, which is why we went ahead and applied for the trademark," said the official spokesperson for ICL.

Trademark attorney Neil Mason said Zee has a weak case as people generally associate T20 with cricket’s shortest version of the game. “You are claiming the proprietorship of a mark which is not associated with you," he said. “You do not associate T20 with Zee and you associate it with a game of 20 overs cricket…That’s why Zee’s application lacks distinctiveness."