Kerala wins battle over ‘KSRTC’ trademark; Karnataka loses case

Controller General of Patents Design & Trade Marks recognises Kerala RTC as the sole custodian of trademark

rainfall, flood, KSRTC, Kerala, transport
All Kerala buses belonging to the corporation will display KSRTC with the mark to indicate the registration. PTI File Photo

After a seven-year legal battle, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation has won the  legal right to the acronym KSRTC and the logo of two elephants and the name Anavandi associated with the corporation. The Karnataka Transport Department has lost the case.

The Controller General of Patents Design and Trade Marks under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry recognised Kerala’s claim on Wednesday (June 2). The registration will make Kerala RTC the sole custodian of the trademark. All buses of the corporation will display KSRTC with the mark to indicate the registration.

A Karnataka official said they will respond after receiving a copy of the order.

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The Kerala RTC and its Karnataka counterpart had been at loggerheads over the acronym ‘KSRTC’ for seven years. Buses and websites of both sides use KSRTC. The decision will end confusion among passengers.

Kerala has cited the mix of its rich cultural legacy with the transport service. “The history of KSRTC is intertwined with the lives of people of the state. It is not just a transport service, but has left the legacy of public transport in our cultural life including films and literature. It is not something that can be erased so easily,” media reports quoted Kerala Transport Minister Antony Raju as saying.

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The row began when Karnataka RTC applied for trademark registration in 2014 and sent a legal notice to Kerala. “Only we have the right to use the acronym KSRTC. We will send a notice to Karnataka,” said KSRTC CMD Biju Prabhakar. “We have followed the registration application closely in the last one year. We have presented pictures and other evidence to prove that we indeed started ahead of Karnataka.”

The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation is one of the oldest operated and managed public transport utilities in the country. The Travancore State Transport Department (TSTD) was reestablished as Kerala State Road Transport Corporation on April 1, 1965. Karnataka RTC also has a similar legacy, but it started as Mysore Government Road Transport Department and then became Karnataka Transport Corporation in 1973.

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