Trinamool v. Trinamul: Name War for Political Parties in India
A recent dispute between two Indian political parties namely the
All India Trinamool Congress and the Nationalist Trinamul Congress Party (NTCP) over use of phonetically similar names has sparked off a debatable issue relating to applicability of trademark laws while registering names of political parties.
Reportedly, the whole matter came up before the Election Commission (EC) after Trinamool Congress objected to NTCP’s use of a phonetically similar name “Trinamul”. Here it would be relevant to mention that an order (No. 56/2014/PPS-I) issued by the Election Commission on May 19, 2014 has directed
that political parties seeking registration under the Representation of People Act, 1951 shall not have any religious connotation and the names should not be similar to the names of existing political parties that may lead to confusion.
There are other political parties existing as well which have similar names like Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Communist Party of India. Similarly there are other political parties like DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) and AIADMK (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) which have similar names of parties.
Names, logos, symbols and the recently evolved trend of slogans for promotions like
Har Haath Shakti, Har Haath Tarraki (of Indian National Congress) and
Ache Din Ane Wale Hai (of Bhartiya Janta Party) serve as a major identifier for political parties. Some political parties have registered or applied for registration of their parties’ names, like in the present case, NTCP had rebutted Trinamool Congress’s objection by stating that it had applied for trademark registration of the name “Trinamul” and the same could not be claimed as “personal property” by a political outfit (as reported by the Times of India on November 18, 2015).