Claim for grant of injunctive reliefs in case of infringement of registered trademark & copyright of Reliance Industries, rejected

Bombay High Court:  Providing major relief to the defendants in the case of infringement of registered trade mark and/or copyright as also passing-off, the Court held that there no similarity found upon the rival logos and also the rival logos are found to be absolutely different and/or distinct and/or dissimilar. Therefore, Plaintiff not held entitled to claim any relief on this ground.

 In the present case, the Plaintiff claimed injunctive reliefs on the basis of infringement of the Plaintiff’s registered trade marks, infringement of copyright and passing off, on the ground that the logo of the Defendant is deceptively similar to the Plaintiff’s registered trade marks consisting of a distinctive logo.

The Plaintiffs who were represented by Dr. V.V. Tulzapurkar, Senior Advocate, contended that the Plaintiff ‘s logo is a well-known trade mark within the meaning of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 therefore, the Plaintiff is entitled to the reliefs of infringement not only in respect of goods falling in Classes in which the Plaintiff’s logo is registered, but also in respect of goods falling in other classes in respect of which the Defendant is using and/or is intending to use its impugned logo. On the other side, the Defendants who were represented by Mr. Rashmin Khandekar (Solomon & Roy) contended that for considering the question of infringement, it is necessary to consider whether the impugned logo of the Defendant is deceptively similar to the Plaintiff’s logo. The impugned logo of Defendant symbolizes water i.e. the industry in which the Defendant operates, the said being treatment of waste-water, and the same is completely different in comparison to the Plaintiff’s logo. The idea conveyed by the Defendant’s logo is the anti-thesis of the idea conveyed by the logo of the Plaintiff. In this case, even the idea conveyed by the rival logos is ex-facie entirely distinct and/or different. The Defendants further contended that Plaintiff is seeking a monopoly on a curve of virtually every shape and/or size and/or dimension and/or design and/or artistic work, which is clearly impermissible. The defendants while relying on Khoday Distilleries Ltd. vs. Scotch Whisky Association (2008) 10 SCC 723 said that it is trite law that to decide the question of deceptive similarity, the nature and kind of customer who is likely to buy, as also other surrounding circumstances, play an important factor.

After perusal of the arguments advanced by Plaintiff and Defendant, the Court in agreement with the Defendant’s submission said that such convoluted mode of comparison by the Plaintiff’s cannot be permitted. No average man with imperfect recollection is going to look at the ‘rotated’ mark of the Plaintiff and be led to believe that the inverted or reversed or mirror image of such ‘rotated’ logo is deceptively similar to the Defendant’s logo, so as to cause confusion. The Court further said that this is apparent from the naked eye itself that there is no question of any confusion and/or deception being caused on account of the use of the rival logos. In view thereof, the balance of convenience is in fact in favour of the Defendant and against the Plaintiff. [Reliance Industries Ltd v. Concord Enviro Systems Pvt. Ltd., 2016 SCC OnLine Bom 4557, decided on 30th June, 2016]

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