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Titles Of Films Are Capable Of Being Recognised Under Trademark Law: Delhi High Court

[26 May 2022] The Delhi High Court has recently rejected a contention that titles of films cannot be registered under Trademark Law and has held that the word ‘SHOLAY’ being the title of an iconic film cannot be held to be a mark devoid of protection. Justice Pratibha M Singh added that certain films cross the boundaries of just being ordinary words and the title of the film ‘SHOLAY’ is one of them. “Titles and films are capable of being recognised under trademark law and in India ‘SHOLAY’ would be a classic example of such a case,” the Court said. It added, “If there is one film that transcends generations of Indians, it is ‘SHOLAY’. The said film, its characters, dialogues, settings, box office collections are legendary. Undoubtedly, ‘SHOLAY’ is one of the biggest, record-breaking films that India has ever produced, in the history of Indian cinema…The mention of the word ‘SHOLAY’ immediately creates a connection with the movie ‘SHOLAY’. There are industry estimates which claim that, although the words ‘SHOLAY’ may have a dictionary meaning in Hindi (specifically, ‘burning coal’), upon the movie going public, the word ‘SHOLAY’ came to be associated only with the film.”

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