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Recently, the Delhi High Court, while setting aside the refusal order of the Trade Marks Registry (“Registry”), held that, when the word ZINGER is used in conjunction with CHICKEN, it does not draw an instant connection with chicken based foodstuffs.

Kentucky Fried Chicken International Holdings LLC (“KFC”) had applied to register the trademark CHICKEN ZINGER in class 29 for ‘chicken burgers, meat burgers, vegetable burgers, cottage cheeseburgers; cheeseburgers, meat, fish, poultry and game, meat extracts, preserved, dried and cooked fruits and vegetables’. The examiner objected to registration of the trademark CHICKEN ZINGER for the applied goods on the ground that CHICKEN ZINGER is descriptive of the goods for which it was applied, i.e., foodstuff of animal origin, namely, chicken.

The Court, in the appeal filed by KFC, considered different dictionary meanings of the term ZINGER, such as ‘a thing outstandingly good of its kind’ or ‘a wisecrack; punch line’ or ‘a surprise question; an unexpected turn of events’, and ruled that the use of ZINGER in conjunction with CHICKEN does not draw an instant connection with the kind of goods and may at best, be considered suggestive. The Court also noted that KFC owns separate registrations for the marks ZINGER and PANEER ZINGER for class 29 goods, and it does not claim exclusivity over the word CHICKEN. The Court, accordingly, set aside the refusal order, and directed the Registry to advertise the trademark CHICKEN ZINGER in the Trade Marks Journal, along with the disclaimer that the KFC shall not have any exclusive rights over the word CHICKEN.

Order dt. February 7, 2023 in C.A.(COMM.IPD-TM) 56/2022 titled Kentucky Fried Chicken International Holdings LLC v. The Registrar of Trade Marks.

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