The Indian Trademark Law accords extraordinary protection to trade marks that are 'well known' and safeguards them from vices of infringement or passing off. Marks like those of Bisleri, Enfield Bullet, Honda, Intel, Kit Kat, Pepsi, Nestle, Microsoft amongst others enjoy the status of being recognized as Well-known trade marks in India by the Indian Intellectual Property Office on the basis of their international, national and cross border reputation.
The relevant statutory provisions under the trade Mark Act, 1999 relation to well-known marks are Sections 2 and 11. Section 2 (1) (zg) defines well-known trademarks. Section 11 (6) specifically lays down the various factors to be taken into account by the Registrar while determining whether or not a trade mark is a well-known trade mark. Section 11 (7) provides what all the Registrar shall take into account while determining as to whether or not a trade mark is known or recognized in a relevant section of the public for the purposes of sub-section (6) of Section 11. Section 11 (8) provides that where a trade mark has been determined to be well-known in at least one section of the public in India, it shall be considered for registration as a well known trade mark. Section 11 (9) provides what all the Registrar shall not require as a condition, for determining whether or not a trade mark is a well-known trade mark. Section 11 (10) further provides an obligation on the Registrar of Trade Marks that while considering an application for registration and opposition filed in respect thereof, he shall protect a well-known trade mark against the identical or similar traced marks.