The iconic Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai has crossed yet another milestone by becoming the first building in the country to get an image trademark under the Trade Marks Act.
As a result, no one can use its images for commercial purposes without paying a licensing fee.
With this, the five-star property has joined a small but elite list of trademarked properties in the world which includes the Empire State Building in New York, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Sydney Opera House, reported TOI.
In most cases, businesses trademark brand names, logos and colour combinations. However, for the first time since the Trademark Act came into existence in 1999, an architectural design has been trademarked in India.
“We have done this to protect the distinctiveness of the building,” said Rajendra Misra, General Counsel of Indian Hotels Company (IHCL), which runs the Taj Mahal Palace told the daily.
The five-star property is a flagship of the Tata Group, reportedly contributing a significant portion to its Rs 2,391 crore revenues.
The Taj Mahal Palace was built in 1903, around 20 years before the Gateway of India, by IHCL chairman Cyrus Mistry’s family firm Shapoorji Pallonji & Co. Even the 250-ft high Florentine gothic dome was designed by Indian architects and engineers.
To this day, the 114-year-old landmark remains one of the most defining structures of Mumbai’s ever changing landscape.
“Nowadays, most of the hotels are cookie-cutters. There are not many which are designed differently,” Misra said, adding that it took the company seven months to get the structure registered.
Going forward, no one can use the Taj Mahal Palace’s images for commercial purposes without paying the company a licensing fee. The fee will also apply to merchandise like t-shirts, photo frames, stationery etc using the hotel’s pictures.
Incidentally, the Taj Mahal Palace was also one of the key targets of the 2008 terror attacks, during which at least six explosions took place in the hotel. The explosions resulted in the death of 31 people and left over 150 injured.