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Under the Trademarks Act, there are 2 grounds for refusal of registration of trade marks:


(a) Absolute ground for refusal of registration of trade mark: marks that are devoid of any distinctive character which in the trade serve to designate the kind, quality, quantity and geographical origin will not be registered. However, if it can be proved that these marks have acquired a distinctive character prior to application by long continuous and uninterrupted use of the mark; marks will also not be registered if they are likely to deceive public or confusion. If the mark comprises scandalous or obscene matter or if the mark is likely to offend the religious sensibilities of the people the same cannot be registered. In addition, if the mark registration is prohibited under the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, it will not be registered. Normally, if the shape of the goods is necessary to obtain a technical result or the shape that adds substantial value to the goods it will not be registered.


(b) Relative ground for refusal of registration of trade mark: when the proposed mark for registration is in conflict with the identity of an earlier registered trade mark in respect of the same or similar goods or services or if it conflicts with the internationally well-known trade mark even if it is not registered in India.


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