YAHOO! proves trademark infringement by Apricot foods – passing off goods by using goodwill

Delhi High Court:  In this case the plaintiffs are seeking permanent injunction to restrain the defendants from passing off of goods by infringing upon the trademark of the plaintiffs. The facts of the case are that the plaintiffs are owners of the trademark ‘YAHOO’ that has been registered in India in various classes including Classes 29 and 30 that cover snack foods, snack mixer, pretzels, tortilla chips, etc. The merchandise being marketed by the defendants is under the name of YAHOO MASALA CHAKRA and YAHOO TOMATO TANGY and being delivered in Delhi.

The plaintiff has shown that the company YAHOO is involved in multifarious activities ranging from products and services online, messengers, news, weather, movies, mail, etc. thereby meaning that the scope of business of the plaintiffs is extremely popular and the products of the defendants would safely lead to an assumption that the goods are originating from the plaintiffs. In addition, the defendants using an email ID addressed as apricotfoods@yahoo.com is proof that defendants have used the goodwill of the plaintiffs. After the claims of the plaintiff remained uncontroverted the Court evaluated the findings of local commissioner. The Local Commissioner found that the defendants possessed 12,960 packets and 77,000 pieces of packing material with the infringed trademark and had sold a total of 22,441 units. The Bench of  Murlidhar, J. concluded that the activities of the defendants amount to infringement and passing off of the YAHOO trademark. The Court allowed the plea for permanent injunction restraining the defendants from selling the impugned products by using the goodwill of he plaintiffs. The Court computeD damages and litigation cost in favour of the plaintiffs by estimation of profits on a modest rate of 10% profit which amounts to Rs. 32,00,000/- and litigation costs worth Rs. 6,44,000. [YAHOO! INC v. Sanjay Patel, 2016 SCC OnLine Del 4988, decided on 01-09-2016]

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