Sony Seeks to Trademark Kolaveri Di

By Joseph Mandour on January 16, 2012

Patent LawyerOrange County – Sony Music is reportedly applying for the trademark rights to lyrics in the Indian superhit “Kolaveri Di” so it can possibly use the world-famous “Why this Kolaveri Di” as a brand and to stop others from doing so.

Sony Music Entertainment in India, which recorded the Tamil-English song that has gone viral around the world thanks to YouTube, filed the trademark application last month. The application, filed under Class 9 and Class 41, will allow Sony to launch products such as cassettes, compact discs, and SD cards, as well as film and non-film entertainment content and talent discovery programs branded “Why this Kolaveri Di”. By doing so, Sony also eliminates the possibility of any other companies capitalizing on the popular phrase.

The song’s first line “Why this kolveri di?” translated to the English language to mean “Why do you have this murderous rage against me?” However disturbing that may sound, the 21-year-old composer Anirudh Ravichander, insists that the song is a “lighthearted” composition about failed love. Apparently, the song is from the soundtrack of the upcoming Indian film “3 Idiots” and since its November release, has become the most searched YouTube video in India.

Amarendra Singh, who heads the client services at the Indian advertising firm Grey Bangalore, said that it would make sense for Sony to release merchandise and a line extension to the song once it becomes a trademarked brand. Singh stated, “They could launch lesser known artists in an album titled Kolaveri 2, and the Kolaveri brand will ensure that the album gets sold out.”

The song “Kolveri Di” has become a case study in Indian intellectual property law about how viral marketing on the Internet of a brand, film, or song can create a cult following just days after being released online. The application to trademark the first line lyrics of the song will be the first for India. Although lyrics to a song have never been trademarked in India, advertisement punch lines, quotes, and television commercial jingles have.

It will be interesting to see how Sony decides to use the trademark. As fads come and go in a world where consumers are always looking for something new, plans to develop Kolveri di into a brand may depend on the success of the movie. It was still a logical step for Sony if it does decide to expand it into a brand.

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