After a seven-year-long dispute with neighboring state Karnataka, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation says it has got the legal rights to the trademarked-acronym KSRTC- with the logo of two elephants and the name Ana Vandi- associated with the state-run transport corporation. Kerala says its claim was approved by the Controller General of Patents Design and Trade Marks under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. on June 2. With this registration, the Kerala SRTC has become the sole custodian of the trademark and that all buses of the state-run corporation can display KSRTC with the mark to indicate the registration (R), reports The New Indian Express.
The dispute between Karnataka and Kerala has been going on for a long time. In 2014, Karnataka had secured the trademark with the name 'KSRTC' and a Gandaberunda icon (two-headed mythical bird). Karnataka then sent a notice to Kerala asking the latter to stop using the same name. Following this Kerala had applied for the trademark from the Registrar of Trade Marks.
Kerala Transport Minister Antony Raju said that the term 'Ana Vandi' too can be used only by the Kerala SRTC from now. "The history of KSRTC is intertwined with the lives of people of the state. It's not just a transport service but has left the legacy of public transport in our cultural life including films and literature, it's not something that can be erased so easily," the minister said.
Kerala SRTC Chairman and Managing Director Biju Prabhakar said that the notice would be issued to Karnataka SRTC asking them not to use 'KSRTC' anymore. Meanwhile, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister and Transport Minister Laxman Savadi said that they haven't received the order copy yet and that the state will discuss and explore all possibilities once they receive it.
"It is reported that the trademark registry has now ruled that Karnataka should not use the word as Kerala used the word KSRTC before. But we have yet to officially come to terms with what is in this judgment, and once it is made available, the state of Karnataka will decide on the next stand and what the legal fight will be. Ours is a federal system. This federal system states that a state must maintain a friendly relationship with another state without any conflict," Savadi said.
Savadi added that it is unfortunate this controversy has been 'unnecessarily woken up'. "This is because in private companies, this type of name or trademark affects their business and profits. But government agencies are not. The service of the people here is important. Karnataka or Kerala are working towards the interests and service of the public without resorting to profit or competition in the field of mutual transport. Thus no state should make this matter a matter of prestige. This is not something that Kerala can celebrate. We should all end the practice of raising disputes in one another's states, unnecessarily increasing disputes over such matters. The most important thing is to maintain good relations between the states and the state in the interests of the country," he said in a statement.