Trade Marks- Introduction

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A "mark" has been defined under Section 2 (m) of the Trade Marks, Act 1999 as which includes a device, brand, heading, label, ticket, name, signature, word, letter,numeral, shape of goods, packaging or combination of colours or any combination thereof 1999

What is Trade Mark Judgments in India

Trademark judgments in India refer to the legal decisions or verdicts given by the Indian courts in cases related to trademark disputes. These judgments are issued in response to disputes related to the use, ownership, registration, and infringement of trademarks.Trademark judgments in India are based on the provisions of the Trade Marks Act, 1999, which governs the registration and use of trademarks in India. The judgments aim to protect the rights of trademark owners and prevent the unauthorized use of their trademarks by others.Trademark judgments in India can be issued by various courts, including the High Courts and the Supreme Court of India. These judgments set legal precedents that help guide future trademark-related disputes and decisions in India.

Strength of Trade Marks

Trade Marks can be classified into 5 types depending upon their strengths for example A Fanciful Mark enjoys the highest and the maximimum protection followed by an Arbitrary trade mark an example of which would be Apple for Computers . The next in line is Suggestive Trade Marks which merely suggests and does not describe directly for example Penguin for Refrigerators , such a trade mark considered a strong trade mark . The next in line is Descriptive which can acquire distinctiveness through secondary meaning which means after long use has acquired distinctiveness . The last in strength is Generic trade marks which actually have no trade mark significance for example Xerox for photocopies.

Concept of Deceptive Similarity

The Hon'ble Supreme Court in the decision reported as 1969 (2) SCC 131 K.R. Chinna Krishna Chettiar Vs. Shri Ambal and Co., Madras & Anr. held that the resemblance between the two marks must be considered with reference to the ear as well as the eye.

Essential features of a Trade Mark

Identification of essential features of the trade marks has been discussed in details in the case of Kaviraj Pandit Durga Dutt Sharma v. Navaratna Pharmaceutical Laboratories and very recently in Delhivery Private Limited v. Treasure Vase Ventures Private Limited, 278 (2021) DLT 485


Prior User of a Trade Mark

A registered proprietor cannot disturb or interfere with the rights of a prior user of a trademark even if the prior user is not registered. Hon’ble Supreme Court in Syed Mohideen Vs. P. Sulochana Bai (2016) 2 SCC 683 . Division Bench of High Court of Delhi in Rajkumar Prasad Vs. Abbott Healthcare 2014 SCC OnLine Del 7708.8.

Dominant Element in a Trade Mark

A registered proprietor cannot disturb or interfere with the rights of a prior user of a trademark even if the prior user is not registered. Hon’ble Supreme Court in Syed Mohideen Vs. P. Sulochana Bai (2016) 2 SCC 683 . Division Bench of High Court of Delhi in Rajkumar Prasad Vs. Abbott Healthcare 2014 SCC OnLine Del 7708.8.

Domain Registration

In NRB Bearings Limited v. Windsor Export, 2014 SCC OnLine Del 1672, this Court reiterated that a domain name serves the same function as the trade mark and is not a mere address or CS(COMM) 675/2019 Page 14 of 19 like-finding number on the internet and, therefore, is entitled to equal protection as a trade mark. Where there is a probability of confusion in business, an injunction will be granted even though the defendants adopted the name innocently.

S.24 of Trade Marks Act 1999

The Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in J. K. Oil Industries v. Adani Wilmar Ltd., 2018 SCC OnLine Del 9367 observed that when a suit was filed for infringement of trade mark as also for passing off, the filing of a rectification petition before the Intellectual Property Rights Board would result in the stay of the suit as far as infringement of trade mark was concerned under Section 124 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999, but that suit with regard to passing off was to continue.

Tapan Choudhury,
Advocate,
Mob- 9873628941
Email ID   tapsash@gmail.com

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