Darjeeling Tea Case Study

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The name ‘Darjeeling Tea’ is tantamount to one of the finest tea produced in the world. Known for its characteristic quality and colour, it refers to tea which has been cultivated, grown, produced, manufactured and processed in the designated 87 tea gardens in the district of Darjeeling in West Bengal. It is said that Darjeeling tea developed around 1840 after Dr. Campbell planted tea seeds in his garden at Beechwood, Darjeeling, 7000 ft above sea level as an experiment. In order to ensure the reputation of DARJEELING tea, the Tea Board has registered the "DARJEELING Logo" and "DARJEELING” (the word mark) as certification marks and geographical indications in India and has initiated proceedings in various jurisdiction to protect the mark from infringement. In China, the legislative framework for the registration for certification mark is completely different from the framework present in India. Moreover the new PRC trademark law which has come into effect from 1st May 2014 bought substantial changes to the current trademark regime in place in China. The protection afforded to well known trademark has been increased as Article 14 of the new Act provides that determination of well known trademark would be undertaken in case of infringement of well known trademark. However procedural norms regarding opposition proceedings have been drastically altered and now if the opposition fails at the Trademark Office level, which is the first level of review for an opposition, the mark would immediately proceed to registration. This is in contrast to the current state of law which allows the opponent in such a situation to appeal to the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board and further apply for judicial review at two levels of court. In addi... ... middle of paper ... ...ion of the mark ‘DA JI LING’ is a prerequisite for the registration of the DARJEELING mark in China. Secondly, in case of opposition proceeding in regard to trademark application by BA Zhou Shi Sheng Fang even the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board allowed the applicant mark to be registered which was a major set-back to the protection of Darjeeling Tea mark. The opposition petition of Tea Board was rejected mainly on three grounds: 1) that the goods were not closely related in terms of functions, purposes, consumer groups. 2) that differences exist between the depictions of the opposed mark and DARJEELING logo; and 3) that the registration and use of the opposed mark would not mislead consumers as to the origin of goods The matter was appealed by the Tea Board to the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court for adjudication and is currently sub-judice.

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