Selecting a movie with unique and attractive title is the most challenging part, as the name has to represent the story, and is the way the movie is recognized. However, the movie title does not come within the ambit of copyright protection.
In India, the practice that is followed is that, typically, titles are registered with Industry Associations like Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association (IMPPA), Association of Motion Pictures and Television Program Producers (AMPTPP) or Film Writers’ Association. The movie owners do this because this reassures them that their titles are being registered and another party will be stopped from using it in future. But these associations don’t have any holding in the eyes of law.
Hence, the movie titles can be registered under the Trademarks Act, 1999. Class 41 which includes a number of services including entertainment is the suitable class for registering movie title. To meet the requirements, the director has to show that his/her movie acquired a secondary meaning amongst the masses and that is to say that it was popular enough to be recognized as a distinctive mark.
Several case laws where trademark law recognizes the registration of movie title in India
1. Sholay Media and Entertainment Pvt Ltd. v. Parag M. Sanghavi
2. Biswaroop Roy Choudhary v. Karan Johar
3. Kanungo Media (P) Ltd v RGV Film Factory
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