From Our Committees

Tiger Force Security Services—Protecting People and IP

Published: January 17, 2023


Kathleen Jose Block, Inc. San Francisco, California, USA Public Information Committee

Whether guarding VIPs and buildings, patrolling events, or installing alarms, a security company’s mission can be summarized in one word: protect. For one security company in India, that also meant taking measures to protect their brand and reputation.

In January 2004, Colonel K.K. Nanda (a veteran of the Indian Army) and his son, Aditya Nanda, formed a security company called Tiger Force Security Services (“Tiger Force”). What started as a single office in New Delhi with 35 employees has grown its presence to four other states in India, currently employing more than 1500 personnel. Their past and present client list includes several big-name companies, including LG Electronics, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Daikin, and Honda. Colonel Nanda proudly highlights that “most of our clients have continued with our services . . . ranging up to 15 years at a stretch as against the normal trend of one to two years.”

Tiger Force logoAccording to Colonel Nanda , Aditya Nanda, the distinctive company logo (pictured here) was inspired by the fact that “all commanders are code named as ‘Tigers’ in the Armed Forces” and “[the] tiger itself is a symbol of strength and power.” Their company name and logo have both been in use since the company began its operations in 2004.

While tigers are endangered, security companies in India with “Tiger” in their names are abundant. Sometime in 2016, Colonel Nanda began receiving phone calls from both job seekers and potential clients who were confusing Tiger Force with other similarly named security companies, many of which also incorporated a tiger face design in their logos. In particular, they were being confused with a company going by the phonetically similar name “TIGER 4 Security.”

Following this uptick of consumer confusion, Colonel Nanda decided it was finally time to file trademark applications for TIGER FORCE SECURITY SERVICES and the Tiger Force logo. However, the road toward registration was not a smooth one.

Refusals had been issued against their applications, citing earlier-filed trademarks that were deemed too similar to theirs. In order to overcome these refusals, the Nandas had to provide documentation dating back to the inception of Tiger Force, proving that their use began in January 2004. “We had to prove our claim by providing a number of documents and registration certificates with other government agencies, falling back to documents like bills, contract agreements with clients, display[s] of our logo in our correspondence, brochures, etc.”

Thanks to the professional services of their legal counsel (and their own diligent record-keeping), TIGER FORCE SECURITY SERVICES (App. No. 4027682) and the Tiger Force logo (App. No. 3959515) are now registered with the Indian Trade Marks Registry.

According to Colonel Nanda, “The immediate benefit we notice post our registration [is] that efforts by other companies to copy us or use our name indirectly has dwindled down. Also, it has given us a great sense of satisfaction and additional confidence in the ownership of our name & logo, and we get a sense of pride.”

When asked what their advice would be to small businesses who are hesitant about pursuing brand protection, Colonel Nanda and Aditya Nanda warn against thinking that one’s brand is immune to imitation by competitors. Especially as a business grows and thrives, other parties could try to take advantage of the goodwill and reputation associated with a certain name and/or logo.

In some jurisdictions trademark rights vest in the first person to use the mark and in others the rights vest in the first person to file an application for the mark with the trademark office. Fortunately for the Nandas, India is a first-to-use jurisdiction. After providing the Indian Trade Marks Registry with substantial evidence of their earlier use, they were able to register their mark. In other jurisdictions that recognize first-to-file rights, businesses that hesitate to protect their brand may be out of luck and forced to rebrand, abandoning the valuable goodwill they’ve worked so hard to build.

When it comes to business security, don’t forget to consider the security and protection of your own brand, too.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of this article, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest. 

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