Copyright: The sound of copyright
The Indian Trademark Registry recently registered Yahoo's 'yodel' sound as a trademark, the first time statutory protection had been accorded to a sound mark in India. The development in this area is being welcomed by brand owners. Sounds, music, jingles and melodies have for a long time proven to be an effective marketing tool: it is well accepted that sounds often have a greater impact than purely visual advertising because they are easier to remember. The importance of sound marks to brand owners is, therefore, unquestionable. It is, however, interesting to note that the Indian Trademarks Act does not specifically mention or define unconventional trademarks such as smell, colour, taste and sound marks. Further, the Act does not lay down any special procedures or criteria to be followed when applying to register unconventional marks. In the absence of clear provisions, one must rely on the definition of 'trademark' being sufficiently broad to cover such marks.
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