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KFC cannot have exclusive right in the word “CHICKEN”: Delhi High Court

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Case Title: Kentucky Fried Chicken International Holdings LLC vs. The Registrar of Trade Marks


Setting aside the orders of the Senior Examiner, the single bench of Justice Sanjeev Narula directed the Trademark Registry to proceed with the advertisement of KFC’s application for registration of the mark “CHICKEN ZINGER”, within three months.

The senior examiner of the trademarks refused to accept KFC’s application for registration and holding that CHICKEN ZINGER was a descriptive term and not eligible as per the trademarks Act under section 9(1)(b) as a trademark.

“Objection under Section 9(1)(b) of the Act seems to be based on the use of the word “CHICKEN”, over which, Appellant cannot have any exclusivity and no such claim is being asserted,” the court noted. Section 9(1)(b) of the Trademark Act prohibits the registration of descriptive trademarks, where the mark exclusively consists of marks or indications used in trade to designate the quality, intended purpose, nature of the goods.

KFC challenged the order of the trademark officer beforethe Delhi High Court where the court observed that the mark in question contained the two words “chicken” and “zinger” and their use together “does not draw anyimmediate connection with the kind of goods/ services and may at best, be considered suggestive. It said that the dictionary meaning of “ZINGER” is “a thing outstandingly good of its kind” or “a wisecrack; punch line” or “a surprise question; an unexpected turn of events”.

The court further said that KFC already holds trademark registration for the words “ZINGER” and “PANEER ZINGER” in Class 29 itself.

It is clarified that Appellant shall not have any exclusive rights in the word “CHICKEN”. Trademarks Registry shall reflect this disclaimer at the time of advertisement of subject mark and also if subject mark ultimately proceeds for registration,” the court directed while allowing the plea of KFC.

Story Update By: Ms. Sai Sushmitha, Correspondent at Lawgic.

Edited By: Ms. Nandini Nair, Content-Head at Lawgic.

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