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Illegal And Unauthorized use of the acronym ‘ICAI’ Not Allowed

Unauthorized use of the acronym ‘ICAI’

ICAI on Sunday said that, ”The acronym ‘ICAI’ belongs to Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and Institute of Cost Accountants of India is not allowed to use this acronym. The NewsPaper reported the judgement Wrongly”.

The matter started when Times of India Chennai Edition published a news article on July 26, 2020 entitled “Court refuses to stop cost accountants from using ICAI acronym”. As per ICAI the news article gives a wrong impression to the general public as if the Hon’ble High court of Madras allowed  the Institute of Cost Accountants of India to use the acronym ‘ICAI’. Which is completely wrong and misplaced additionally the news article doesn’t represent the exact mean of the judgement.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) recently responded in this matter and said that the acronym ‘ICAI’ is a registered Trademark of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India with user dated July 1, 1949. ICAI further added that the ICAI as a proprietor or owner or prior user can exclusively use the acronym ‘ICAI’ as an identity. 

The institute in its public announcement said that, “Needless to state that the Trademark right is a proprietary right and therefore only such owner of the Trademark, if aggrieved against any infringement of such trademark, has locus Standi and consequently a cause of action to initiate appropriate proceedings before the appropriate forum against such infringement and to seek the appropriate relief thereunder.

Such proprietary right of the trademark is a right in personam and not a right in rem. Therefore, the petitioner, though a member of the third respondent, cannot be called as an aggrieved person, even to initiate the proceedings before such appropriate forum against the alleged infringement.”

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It further added that “It is vehemently contended by the petitioner and the third respondent that availability of alternative remedy is not a bar for entertaining this writ petition and exercising the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

True, it is not that this Court is powerless or that availability of an alternative remedy will always be a bar for exercising the jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. At the same time, it is to be noted that the jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India is a discretionary jurisdiction and hence it is not necessary for this Court to exercise such discretionary jurisdiction in all cases, notwithstanding the factum of availability of alternative remedy, even though a case is made out by the petitioner.

In this case, the alternative remedy is a statutory remedy available under the separate enactment and when such remedy is not only efficacious and also the just and proper course of action, considering the dispute between the parties, in this case, this Court is of the firm view that the parties have to agitate the matter by availing the other alternative remedy and certainly not by pursuing this writ petition,.

The petitioning member was not satisfied with the aforesaid order of February 20, 2018 that came from a learned single judge and then the party filed a writ appeal which was dismissed on the various grounds by the Honorable Madras High Court with its order dated July 22, 2020.

The High court dismissed the appeal due to the 3 major reasons, the first one is that the Petitioner (Appellant) does not have any locus standi to maintain the writ petition against ICAI which is a body corporate established by statute. Secondly, the prosecution can be done only by the Council or the Central Government as per the Section 28 of the CA Act. Lastly, it is a violation of the Trade Mark Act, ICAI is holding (Proprietor of) the trademark of the acronym thus only ICAI is allowed to use the acronym and the Petitioner has no locus standi for such appeal.

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The High Court has never allowed the Institute of Cost Accountants to use the acronym ‘ICAI’ which is wrongly reported in the newspaper. ICAI also stated that the appeal was dismissed by the high court on various grounds as stated above. ICAI also clarified that “acronym ‘ICAI’ is a registered Trade Mark of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) [Trade Mark No. 2121118] with a user date July 01, 1949”. 

It further added, Any illegal, unauthorised and unauthentic use of the acronym “ICAI” by any person or entity will be infringement of Trademark laws and several other provisions of the CA Act 1949.

Read more official announcement by ICAI : Click here

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