Published on: December 27, 2022
Why in news? Delhi High Court, in the case of Hamdard National Foundation (India) vs Sadar Laboratories Pvt. Ltd, judgment observed that the trademark ‘Rooh Afza’ is prima facie a strong mark requiring a high degree of protection as it has immense goodwill.
What is the dispute?
- The manufacturers of ‘Rooh Afza’ moved an appeal against the rejection of its application seeking an interim injunction against Sadar Laboratories Ltd. for their product ‘Dil Afza’.
- The appellant stated before the court that the trademark ‘Rooh Afza’ is a highly reputed mark in the market with regard to sharbat (sweet beverage).
- It was claimed that the design of the product ‘Dil Afza’ is deceptively similar to the get-up and trade dress of the appellant’s product.
What is a trademark?
- A trademark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by a business organisation to distinguish its products or services from those of other entities.
- It serves as a badge of origin exclusively identifying a particular business as a source of goods or services.
- Trademark infringement is the unauthorised usage of a sign that is identical or deceptively similar to a registered trademark
The Trade Marks Registry
- Established in India in 1940
- Statutory backup : Trade Marks Act, 1999
- It acts as a resource and information centre and is a facilitator in matters relating to trade marks in the country.
- The objective of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 is to register trademarks applied and to provide for better protection of trade mark for goods and services and also to prevent fraudulent use of the mark.
- Main function of the Registry : Register trademarks which qualifies for registration under the Act and Rules
What is a strong trademark?
- A mark is said to be strong when it is well-known and has acquired a high degree of goodwill.
- The degree of the protection of any trademark changes with the strength of the mark, the stronger the mark, the higher the requirement to protect it.
Ex: “Rooh Afza requires more protection as it is more likely to be subjected to piracy by those who seek to draw an undue advantage of its goodwill
What were the Court’s rationales?
- Trade dress of the impugned trade mark, consists of the bottle’s shape, design, the placement of the house mark, colourfully busy design of the label, are the material contributors to the commercial impression of the competing trademark.
- The value of the product was taken into consideration as well and the average customer would not deliberate on the details of the product as one would do while taking a high-value investment decision