August 28, 2009

Nano their business

The Tata group of companies recently filed a case against the travel site Oktatabyebye for "infringement" of their name.

Why? Because "tata" is in the travel site's name.

I would have thought any reasonable person deciding on this case would dismiss it. But no, the decision handed down awards ownership of the site to the Tatas.

So I think the Tatas should now claim ownership of bodacioustatas.com (warning: be prepared for a warning of adult content. Don't say I didn't warn you). And patata.com (also batata.com and patatas.com and so forth, all potato domain names). And matata.com (no, no clue what it's about). I mean, they should go after Bangladesh's Satata Construction Company and Italy's La Tata (no clue again). Pronto.

Hey, there's more. Plenty more.

P2P streaming happens at Vatata.

There's Natata for e-publishing.

You can find out about studying Ukraine via yatata.com.

Somebody in Cameroon, I think, runs mantata.com, though not very well so far.

Somebody in Wisconsin, I think, runs ratatat.com, with a blog too.

There are some lovely patterns on RATATA.

Besides, maybe you want to buy a Rotatable TV phone V866?

Enough for now, but if you have more suggestions for Tata, please leave a comment.

***

If you think this is nuts, please go here.

Also, please inform me if I'm liable for action based on the nondescript pun in my title.

Tata. Bye bye.

18 comments:

Pankaj said...

Would they also like to act against all Telugu speaking grandchildren who in letters or e-mails to their grandfathers address them as "tatas"?
(In the spoken form "tata" is pronounced with a soft "t", but is still deceptively similar to their brand).

And would they also like to go ahead and sue all (non-Tata) lorries which have "OK TATA BYE BYE" written on them?

Nikhil said...

Maybe if Ratan Tata had not decided to locate the Nano plant in Gujarat, then perhaps Dilip would have ignored this news. Nano being manufactured in Gujarat has made all the difference to Dilip.

Raj said...

My blog is called "Plus Ultra". Do you think Ultratech Cements will sue me for infringing on half their name?

Rakesh said...

"Nano being manufactured in Gujarat" and so on.....

Dcubed, its' a good thing all your readers are not this twisted.

but seriosly, are the tata guys out of their frickin' minds? pl read the judgment here.. it says oktb "knew of this mark (tata) and wanted to use it in the domain name in order to profit from the traffic generated by the fame of the mark"!!

is this guy suggesting that i am visiting oktatabyebye because i am thinking of tata??

Dilip D'Souza said...

Raj, as a one-time user of C++, I believe your blog name is infringing on the naming or something rights of the dudes who invented this arcane language.

Therefore, please cease (C-se?) and desist.

Raj said...

And, if I started a roadside shop called "Raj's Batata Wadas", will I be sued by both Bata and Tata?

Dilip D'Souza said...

Yeah, but make sure you hire a competent sign painter. Because if you get someone who inadvertently inserts an inappropriate "i", you might have Wadias on your case as well.

Mayuresh Gaikwad said...

Hmmm, looks like the makers of Dhoom shall be in trouble too, as they made a singer called "Tata Young" sing for them.

Suresh said...

Dilip,

Surely there is a difference between "oktatabyebye" and "bodacioustata." In the former case, someone is deliberately making use of the Tata brand name. [That it is deliberate can hardly be disputed, can it?] Furthermore, it could be justifiably argued that people may mistakenly associate the site with the Tata group of companies. In the other examples you cite, the "infringement" is accidental and I don't think there is any danger of people associating those sites with the Tata group of companies.

I am not an expert on trademarks but infringement disputes are known to occur. About 10 years back, there was an episode involving the site mit.com [apparently no longer in existence] which belonged to a company named Merritt Island Technologies. This was not known for some time to MIT [Massachussetts Institute of Technology, site mit.edu]. When MIT did discover it, they were not amused, threatened legal action and the matter was finally settled out of court. A web trawl may get you some references to this particular dispute.

Anyway, I was surprised at the flip tone of your post. Trademarks are serious and companies have every right to take action against perceived infringements.

Suresh said...

I just noted that Oktatabyebye.com themselves say the following regarding their choice of name:

The Oktatabyebye.com domain name is importantly a representative of the colloquial “OK Ta Ta Bye Bye”, which represents travel, journey and related activities, referring to the generic word “Ta Ta”.

This may well be true but it is also true that "OK TATA" has long been associated with trucks produced by Tatas. Most who have traveled on Indian roads know this well. I think Tatas are well within their rights to argue that there is a potential for confusion here; in particular, some may mistakenly associate the site oktatabyebye.com with the Tata group itself.

Trademark infringement cases are tricky and not clear cut in most cases. For what it's worth, I would side with Tatas here (as I mentioned in my previous post).

Dilip D'Souza said...

Suresh,

I don't at all see that saying "Ok tata bye bye", which I've done facetiously for years with friends, and I'm sure plenty of others do too, is a reference to Tata the company. I frequently sign off my email with "tata", and I am not thinking of the company.

As Rakesh above points out, the judgement in this case suggests that Oktatabyebye.com "knew of this mark and wanted to use it in the domain name in order to profit from the traffic generated by the fame of the mark."

In other words, it is suggesting that there are people who think to themselves "Tata", and then go visit oktatabyebye.com, and the OKtatabyebye people knew of this and wanted to exploit it.

I really think this is an absurd argument, given the pretty much generic use of the phrase.

I mean, there are so many phrases that are in popular use. Should every company that sees its name in there sue and win? When I say "Let it be" to my kids when they argue over something, am I infringing on the Beatles' rights (or are they with the late MJ)?

Tata is well within its rights to sue, I am not arguing that. But I cannot believe the decision went in their favour.

Suresh said...

A lot of us use "google" to mean web search and "xerox" to mean "photostat" but these does not affect trademarks either. For one, in most of these contexts - including where we say "Ok, tata bye bye" - we are not selling any product or service.

According to the Wikipedia - yes, I know, not too reliable - trademark infringement occurs when one party, the "infringer", uses a trademark which is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark owned by another party, in relation to products or services which are identical or similar to the products or services which the registration covers. It goes on to add: Where the respective marks or products or services are not identical, similarity will generally be assessed by reference to whether there is a likelihood of confusion that consumers will believe the products or services originated from the trademark owner.

This is the crucial issue: How likely is it that someone may mistakenly associate the concerned website (oktatabyebye.com) with the Tata group as such? The answer is not totally clear in the *Indian* context. (If you tell someone that you had found oktatabyebye.com useful, there is some chance that the other person may think that this is because the website is associated with the Tata group.) You could, I guess, reasonably come down on either side.

Where I suppose I disagree with you is that I don't think the judgment is unreasonable. Let's leave it at that.

Anonymous said...

When will you fools learn? Suresh, the agenda of this blog is as follows:

Support the 'little guy' over the 'big guy'

Support the muslims over the hindus.

Support the Congress over the BJP

Support the communists over the capitalists

Unsupport Indians whenever possible

Anonymous said...

Suresh, this is a followup to my this above comment.

I have just learned that oktatabybye is run by one comgress communist muslim dwarf from ukrain, whereas at the same time ratan tata is a cappitalist bjp Hindu behemoth Indian.

Anonymous said...

I cant believe it... "tata" is very, very, very widely used for "goodbye" among us. Except if we're conversing in English at the point of taking leave, most ppl in my circle are more likely to say Tata than bye.

tata,
Jai

Horn Please!! said...

I have called my blog horn-please, will somebody sue me please?

Amit said...

When I say tata to a friend when I am leaving, am I in a way doing anything related to any Tata company? If not, then the comparison with "google for search" and "xerox for photocopy" is absurd.

Ok tata bye bye is a travel site - it says "bye" already. Can't it also say "ta ta" in the same tone? How in eternity can this "ta ta" be in any way related to any Tata group company is beyond me.

unny said...

cant understand why TATA should be worried about this. surprisingly funny and strange. someone has misguided TATA to take a call. going by this all those URLs you have mentioned by you also will need to go to TATA.

nicely written.

as usual, anonymous-es are always fanatic and ready to take the sword - for no rhmye or reason.