Prohibited Names and Logos

The choice of a business name for a company or business is one of the initial steps in starting the business preceding the registration of a logo or trademark. While in the process of choosing a name of a business or company, the entrepreneurs must be well aware of the names and emblems (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950, under which there are certain words and marks which do require prior approval of the Government for the usage.Here is a brief on the prohibited business names and logos in India.

Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950

No one can use the marks or names which are listed below without the prior approval of the Central government or State government in any trade, business or in the title or any patent, trademark or design.


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Name, Emblem, Seal of Flag of the Government

Name, emblem or official seal of the Government of India or of any State or Central Government, or any other insignia or coat-of-arms used by any such Government or by a Department of any such Government is strictly prohibited from the purpose of usage of a business name or logo.

The National Flag of India or any name that suggests the patronage of the Government of India or the Government of any of the states or that is in connection with any of the local authorities or any corporation or body constituted by the Government cannot be used as a business name or logo.

The name, emblem or the official seal of the President, Governor or Republic or Union of India cannot be used for a company’s name. The name or pictorial representation of Rashtrapati, Raj Bhavan or Rashtrapati Bhawan cannot be used.

Names such as “Ashoka Chakra” or “Dharma Chakra” or any pictorial representation of Ashok Chakra as used in the Indian National Flag or in the official seal or emblem of the Government of India or any of the state government.

Any name of the Parliament or the Legislature of any of the State, or the Supreme Court of any State, or the Central Secretariat, or a State Government Secretariat or any other office of the Government or the pictorial representation of any of the prominent building by any of the institutions above.

Government & Organizations

The name, emblem or the official seal of the following organisations can’t be utilised in connection with a business name or mark.

  • United Nations Organization
  • World Health Organization
  • St. John Ambulance Association (India), and St. John Ambulance Brigade (India), including of the device of a white eight-pointed cross embellished in the four principal angles, whether or not the device is surrounded or accompanied by concentric circles or any other extra decoration or by lettering.
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
  • International Civil Aviation Organization
  • International Criminal Police Organization or Interpol
  • The World Metrological Organization
  • International Atomic Agency
  • Tuberculosis Association of India
  • International Olympic Committee
  • Bharat Scouts and Guides
  • Sri Sarada Math and Ramakrishna Sarada Mission consisting of a Swan (facing right)floating on water, along with a lotus in the foreground and a rising sun in the background, the whole being encircled by a wild serpent (facing right) with the words superimposed on the bottom end.
  • Rama Krishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission which consists of a Swan floating on waters, with a lotus in the foreground and a rising sun in the background, the whole being encircled by a hooded serpent with the words superimposed on the bottom end.

Important Leaders and Personalities

The name or pictorial representation of Mahatma Gandhi, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru or the Prime Minister of India or the words “Gandhi”, “Nehru” or “Shivaji” except the pictorial use on the calendars where the names of the manufacturers and printers of the calendars are given and these calendars are not being used for advertising goods.

Government Badges and Medals

Medals, badges or decorations which are being instituted and given out by the Government from time to time or the miniatures or replicas of such medals, decorations and badged or the names of the badges, medals or decorations cannot be used.

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