Importance of Trademark Registration in Entertainment Industry
When it comes to Trademark Registration in the entertainment industry, registration is the first and vital step you have to take. Trademarks in this digital era are becoming increasingly vital to protect. A Trademark is a logo, design, name, or shape that recognises a company’s products or services, and such a mark differentiates & recognises a company’s products or services in its opponents in the same market. This can be as diverse as the rock band name in the entertainment industry, through to film studios, record companies, & individual artists. In this blog, we will discuss about the importance of Trademark Registration in entertainment industry.
What is the Role of Trademark Registration in Entertainment Industry?
- The increasing rate of violation or infringement has forced the entertainment industry to choose for Trademark protection. Because it plays a significant role in protecting intangible assets such as any song title, movie name, motion picture, and brand name, thereby ensure calmness for the producers.
- The importance of a Trademark in entertainment industry cannot be compromised. Band name or artist name is the most valuable attribute as it provides a distinctive identity to the original creator. The name of the artist is an unusual medium of recognition, and it is the only thing that defines an artist in the mind of the audience.
- Such a registration lacks legitimate ground; the court might allow the applicant to submit the same in case of an official dispute. Tiles of motion pictures are protectable under Trademark Class 41 of the fourth schedule of Trademark Rule, 2001, which necessarily provides coverage to services classified as entertainment.
- Linking a song with a particular brand name or any song title provides that artist or band original value.
- Various societies like an association of TV programs and Motion pictures or any Indian motion pictures producer’s alliance provide reasonable protection to film titles against the Infringement Act via registration.
- There is no opposing view that Trademark Registration in entertainment industry is very important for music artists and film producers.
Trademark Law in the Film & Music Industry
The names of albums, movies, songs, etc., can be accorded safety under the Trademark Law subject to definite situations. The name and titles should be distinctive and original. Titles which are common or descriptive are unlikely to protect. Another condition is that they should have obtained secondary meaning. In the case of film names or titles, the title of one film cannot be trademarked, it is an unchanged and limited work, but the series’ title such as Money Heist may be trademarked. These can be registered under Trademark Class 41, which consists of “Entertainment“, and Trademark Class 9, which includes “Apparatus for recording, reproduction or transmission of images or sounds” under the international uniform categorisation standards.
Protection of Trademark to Motion Picture Titles in India
- Every year Indian entertainment industry generates a massive amount of revenue by releasing numerous motion pictures pan India. Bollywood is the main contributor to the entertainment industry, releases many motion pictures every year, more than its counterparts worldwide.
- The entertainment sector in India earned the industry title in the year 2001, and since then, it has observed enormous growth in terms of credibility & growth. The increased acknowledgement has aided them to protect the support of foreign investors and players, comprising 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, etc.
- The shift is extraordinary, but the increasing growth has pushed the entertainment industry in the area where it finds its future in danger because of growing IP problems and infringement cases. The lack of proper protection has stimulated piracy growth, which today has become a primary deterrent to the film sector.
- However, Trademark Registration in Entertainment Industry can aid films producers to keep such threats at bay.
Protection of Song Title – Trademark Registration in Entertainment Industry
- The producer of a song can get Copyright protection only if the title of the song is an essential part of the work itself. As the title of a song has a connection with the original work, it may be safeguarded under the Trademark Act, 1999. Trademark or Copyright Registration is still moderately used by song creators in India.
- Well, the application was objected, and Sony Music Entertainment has failed to get the protection. Trademark protection under Trademark Classes 9 & 41 provides legal protection to the film title and benefits from making cassettes and compact discs, and so forth.
- Because of insufficient clarity on song title protection, there is a flurry on which the law requires to provide the explanation.
- Another problem or issue with the protection is that the Trademark will lose its validity if it remains unutilised for 5 years.
What is the Scope of Safeguarding Trade Dress in India?
Trade dress is a division of Trademark Law that mentions the overall “look and feel” of a product or service. It is the final representation & appearance of the product or service that helps clients recognise the product’s source or origin. The Trademarks Act, 1999, brought Indian Trademarks Law in level with the international standards. Although it doesn’t provide a separate definition of Trade dress, the amended Trade Mark Act, 1999 widened the scope of the Trademark definition to comprise all elements of Trade dress as mentioned under the Lanham Act.
Protecting Fictional Elements and Movie Titles
Names of fictional characters can be registered as Trademarks furnished that these names are also the movies or series’ names. For example, Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, Harry Potter, etc., are registered Trademarks. Character merchandising thus requires a license from the Trademark owner.
The common practice in India is to get movie titles registered with industrial bodies like Film & Television Producers’ Guild of India (FTPGI), IMPPA (Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association), and WIFPA (Western India Film Producers’ Association). A detailed search is conducted among these companies to see if a title is the same or deceptively identical to one of the registered. Getting the movie titles or names registered with such bodies only establishes priority in using the film title & doesn’t affect court proceedings.
Trademark Registration in entertainment industry is playing an essential role in protecting valuable film projects & music albums by providing protection. When it comes to the entertainment industry, the Trademark Act, 1999, is at par with International Trademark Laws is interpreted less liberally. Uniqueness should be promoted with regard to movie or film titles, and song titles & no room must be left for duplicity. Trademarks being the medium for brand building thus should be better safeguarded.