In 2000, a special protection of the name and symbol of Auroville was sought and granted under the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper use) Act 1950. This is the same Act that protects the national flag of India, the image (picture) of Mahatma Gandhi, etc.A number of business ventures, running on a not-for-profit basis with the aim of generating revenue for the development of the Auroville Township’s objectives are functioning under the Auroville Foundation, a unique body created in 1988 by an Act of Parliament that vigilantly oversees the experiment. It needs to be clearly stated here that any person/entity using the name or emblem of “Auroville” without official permission from the said Foundation shall therefore end up passing off their goods or services as those manufactured, distributed or provided by the Foundation. Legal action will be taken against any such improper usage.
The restrictions in Sections 3 and 4 of the E & N Act are attracted to any improper use or registration of the name or emblem of “Auroville”. For ready reference, these provisions are given in italics below. It is thus clear that no person is permitted to use the name or emblem of “Auroville” to carry on trade, either as part of its corporate / firm name or as part of its trade mark. Any such conduct would result in violation of the provisions of the E & N Act, as well as result in the commission of the common law tort of passing off.
Sec. 3. Prohibition of improper use of certain emblems and names – Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force, no person shall, except in such cases and under such conditions as may be prescribed by the Central Government, use, or continue to use, for the purpose of any trade, business, calling or profession, or in the title of any patent, or in any trade mark or design, any name or emblem specified in the Schedule or any colourable imitation thereof without the previous permission of the Central Government or of such officer of Government as may be authorised in this behalf by the Central Government.
Sec. 4. Prohibition of registration of certain companies, etc .– (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force, no competent authority shall,
(a) register any company, firm or other body of persons which bears any name, or
(b) register a trade mark or design which bears any emblem or name, or
(c) grant a patent in respect of an invention which bears a title containing any emblem or name,
if the use of such name or emblem is in contravention of Section 3.
Name and Symbol of Auroville Protection Group