West Bengal secures registration of ‘Biswa Bangla’ trademark
With the West Bengal government finally securing the registration of the Biswa Bangla trademark, it will now look to adapt it for use by various departments
Kolkata: After a protracted legal wrangling with chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee, the West Bengal government has last week managed to get its most identifiable mark—Biswa Bangla—registered with the trademark authorities of India for diverse use.
Abhishek Banerjee filed applications for the registration of Biswa Bangla as his own trademark starting in November 2013 even before the chief minister, who had created it, had assigned it to the state government under an agreement in 2014. The state has been using the mark from September 2013, and while opposing Abhishek’s claim to it, had said that it had spent “huge sums of money” to promote it, resulting in “exponential growth of its reputation and goodwill”.
In the wake of the controversy, Abhishek Banerjee gave up his claim to it by withdrawing all his applications.
It had clearly emerged as the state’s most identifiable mark when Mukul Roy, a politician who defected from the Trinamool Congress to the Bharatiya Janata Party alleged at a public meeting in November last year that Abhishek Banerjee had secured ownership of Biswa Bangla.
By then, the trademark authorities had issued a public notification acknowledging his claim to the trademark—the last step before awarding ownership to the applicant.
The state government had also applied for ownership of the Biswa Bangla trademark through an arm, West Bengal State Export Promotion Society, but its application was stalled in view of the competing claim.
The state, in its opposition to Abhishek Banerjee’s claim, had said that the chief minister had given the Biswa Bangla mark to the state government for use by all its departments and that the state government had exclusive rights to it. Alleging malfeasance, it said that the chief minister’s nephew was trying to usurp it.
With the state finally securing the registration of the Biswa Bangla trademark, it will now look to adapt it for use by various departments, said key government official who asked not to be named.
The transport department of the West Bengal government, for instance, had decided to create its own logo keeping the Biswa Bangla mark at its core, but chose not to go ahead with the registration of the trademark when Abhishek Banerjee interests came to light, said two officials.
Several other departments are now expected to file applications for registration of their own trademarks, all derivatives or adaptations of the Biswa Bangla mark, they added. Bureaucrats were earlier not sure whether to push for registration of trademarks derived from Biswa Bangla in view of the political sensitivity of the matter, according to these officials.
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