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Kerala wins dispute to use KSRTC acronym for govt transport after long battle with Karnataka

Web report/Bengaluru
Filed on June 4, 2021

Registrar of Trademarks issues order giving Kerala government-owned transporter to use the acronym

Hundreds of thousands of passengers in the two neighbouring states use the buses daily while travelling between cities and towns and even between the two states. Not many, of course, would know – or perhaps even bother to find out – what the acronym KSRTC stands for.

But the Kerala government announced on Friday that the Registrar of Trademarks issued an order two days ago that KSRTC can now be used only for Kerala and a notice will be sent to the Karnataka government-owned carrier.

The Central Trade Marks Registry gave its final verdict on Wednesday giving the Kerala government-owned transporter to use the acronym KSRTC, its emblem and even the term ‘Aana Vandi,’ which means elephant vehicle.

Laxman Savadi, Karnataka’s deputy chief minister, who also has the transport portfolio, however, said the government had not yet received any such order. “Without any notice from the Controller General of Patents Design and Trade Marks we cannot go ahead with Kerala’s claim,” he told the media.

“We will discuss with our KSRTC legal team and explore all possibilities.” The minister, however, asserted that it was an unnecessary controversy as “service of the people is important for the two corporations.”

Shivayogi Kalasad, managing director of the Karnataka transporter said it would explore legal options after getting a copy of the order. “We will make all efforts to retain our right to use the acronym,” he told a news website.

The dispute over the use of KSRTC surfaced in 2014 when the Karnataka transporter applied for trademark registration. Its Kerala counterpart claimed it was the first to use KSRTC on its buses.

The erstwhile Travancore State Transport Department (TSTD) saw its name being changed to Kerala State Road Transport Corporation on April 1, 1965. “The history of KSRTC in Kerala is intertwined with the lives of the people,” said Antony Raju, Kerala’s transport minister.

“It is not just a vehicle service. KSRTC has left its mark on cinema, literature, and our culture. It cannot be erased that easily. I am happy with the verdict and congratulate the officials who worked for this. This is an achievement for KSRTC.”

Back in 1973, the Mysore Government Road Transport Department (MGRTD), which was started by the then Mysore state government in 1948, became Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC).

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