FSSAI regulations changes for product trademarks

To effectively regulate various business operations of the Food and Beverage Industry in India, the FSSAI had recently published a draft of the Food Safety and Standards (Claims and Advertisement) Regulations, 2018 (“Regulations”) pertaining to claims and advertisements by Food Business Operators.

These Regulations have been formulated with the primary intention of curbing the use of vague/ open-ended/ misleading words/ phrases by food businesses to sell and market their products, without any tangible or concrete basis for the statements made in this regard.

General Points to Note in New FSSAI Registration Amendment

  1. Regulations defines “claim” as any representation which states, suggests, or implies that a food has particular qualities relating to its origin, nutritional properties, nature, processing, composition or otherwise.
  2. Every Food Business Operator and marketer, while advertising, publishing or disseminating marketing communication meant for promotion of sale of any article of food is required to comply with the general principles laid down therein.
  3. Specific emphasis for the purpose of this article has been placed on the principle that prescribes, “Where the meaning of a trade mark, brand name or fancy name appearing in the labelling, presentation or advertising of a food is such that it may imply a nutrition or health claim, all the general & specific conditions, prohibitions and restrictions as laid down in these Regulations shall be applicable.”
  4. Therefore, it appears that the Regulations impose certain restrictions with reference to trademarks related to the food product.
  5. The Regulations also specifically regulate the use of certain adjectives and prescribe strict conditions for their usage in relation to the food product.

Of these adjectives, emphasis for the purpose of the article, has been placed on the regulation of words as ‘Premium’, ‘Finest’, ‘Best’, ‘Real’, ‘Traditional’ and ‘Original’ that commonly form part of product taglines which may be registered as trademarks under the Trademarks Act, 1999 (“Act”). The regulation of the use of these adjectives may pose a possible conundrum, specifically in relation to existing trademarks and considering that specific and exhaustive criteria already exist for the registration of taglines under the Act.

Source: Economic Times

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