What are the Well-Known Trademark Infringement Cases in India?
As you may know, building a brand is not so easy; it requires immense hardship and adequate capital. Once your brand builds its place firmly in the target market, it becomes more vulnerable to violation. This is where Trademark protection comes into action. Businesses often choose Trademark Registration in India to get countrywide protection from infringers. Although, there are some other options to get international protection through International Trademark Registration and Madrid Protocol. Many brands, especially the famous ones, are more exposed to infringement risk. In this blog, we will discuss some famous Trademark Infringement cases in India.
In the past few years, a number of brands have faced Trademark Infringement problems that had cost them significant capital loss. The new brand owner should take references from the existing brands to get the basic concept of how to ensure brand safety. Trademark Registration is the best thing to secure a brand; but, it’s not easy as it looks. Therefore, it is recommendable to refer to the last landmark Trademark Infringement cases in India.
Some Well-Known Trademark Infringement Cases in India
You can check some famous Trademark Infringement cases in India below that can give better clarity on how Trademark Laws work:
- GoDaddy vs. Academy Awards
Another problem where the Academy Awards was sued the well-known domain retailer GoDaddy. It was the argument that continued for five years. In the appeal, the plaintiff claimed that the defendant was deliberately letting the customers buy a dishonestly identical domain name. It claimed on permitting individuals to spend on the profit that wanted to part on proposed domains and claimed a part of profits. However, the judge ordered that the defendant has no malicious aim to profit from their domain sales.
Firstly, the Academy Awards argued that there were 57 domain names sold by the defendant who had no requisite inadequate reliance from the sales of the domain name. The authorised dispute or argument lasted for five years and was deemed as a costly affair. While this statutory dispute was remarkably costly, it favoured the cybersquatting space, and the defendant came out clearly.
- ZARA Fashion vs. ZARA Food
Everyone must be aware of ZARA, and it needs no introduction as it is one of the most famous and expensive fashion brands in the world. The case came out in 2010 when this Spanish apparel enormous caught a Delhi-based restaurant using a similar brand name. Therefore, ZARA fashion sued the restaurant, and the case went into the Delhi High Court. In the presence of solid evidence, the court ruled out the judgement in favour of the plaintiff by confining the defendant from using a similar brand name.
Brand protection is a boring undertaking, especially for favoured businesses. The provisions in the Trademark Law are way too strict when penalising misleadingly identical brand names. Henceforth, it is suitable for every business owner to stay in line with underlying norms and ensure their brand name.
- Akash Arora & Anr vs. Yahoo Inc.
Yahoo is a prominent American company. The corporation also owns the popular Trademark Yahoo & the domain name Yahoo name. Both the domain name and the Trademark owns a unique name, goodwill, and reputation. In 1995, Yahoo was registered by Yahoo Inc with Network Sol. Inc., which provides an extensive array of online services. The Trademark Yahoo owns the statutory status in 65 nations, excluding India.
The defendant (Akash Arora), while registering the domain name of Yahoo India to provide some services similar to those furnished by Yahoo Inc, is a violation of Trademark and results in passing-off under the involved sections of The Trade and Merchandise Marks Act. When a defendant does business operations under a name that is similar to the name under which the complainant is dealing, and that name has earned significant goodwill, and the masses are likely to be misguided that the accused’s business is the business of the complainant or a department or complainant brand, the accused is liable for action in passing off.
Yahoo Inc. argued that the defendant gets the domain name of Yahoo to provide services similar to those of Yahoo Inc. and had struggled to cash in on the reputation earned by Yahoo Inc. because there was a chance of a user getting misled, believing that either of the domain names belongs to the similar company that is Yahoo Inc. Thus, Yahoo claimed that the defendant is responsible for passing off and ceased him from using the same domain name.
The court judgement was based on the rationale that where the brand name value lies in its resemblance with another name of another entity, the masses get confused by utilising such brand name & such undertaking would lead to passing off. In the present case, the court decision is based on that where the name-value solely lies only in their resemblance to the Trademark name of other companies, the public is likely to get tricked by the use of such name & such act would amount to passing off.
- Louis Vuitton Dak vs Louis Vuitton
This is one of the famous Trademark Infringement cases. The Louis Vuitton Dak is a well-known fried chicken restaurant based in South Korea. This well-known restaurant lost the battle against the world-renowned designer Louis Vuitton. The court provided their judgment favouring the plaintiff that is Louis Vuitton, by concluding that the restaurant name violates the idea of uniqueness considered in the law of Trademark. Also, the packaging and logo of the restaurant are deceptively similar to that of the iconic imagery of the designer.
This compelled the defendant to changed their name to LOUISVUI TONDAK, for which it was subjected to a fine of 14.5 million dollars. Hence, if you are a business, ensure maintaining a safe distance to popular names & try not to copy them.
After discussing the famous Trademark Infringement cases, it is clear that every business should understand the vital concept of the Laws of Trademark to make sure hassle-free & better protection for their brand. It is recommendable to hire an expert from the legal domain with a specialisation in Trademark Law. In this way, you can alleviate the chance of diverging from underlying provisions and keep your brand name safe as long as possible.
Read our article:What are the 4 Best Non-Conventional Trademarks?