Court finds mark ‘ILM’ to be deceptively similar to ‘IILM’; restrains its usage

Delhi High Court: A Bench comprising of Deepa Sharma, J. restrained the defendant from using their mark ILM as it was deceptively similar to the mark of the plaintiff i.e. IILM.

The plaintiff set up a school in the year and a management institute by the name of ‘Institute for Integrated Learning in Management’ i.e. IILM in 1993. It became well-known and acquired distinctiveness in the field of education. Trademarks ‘IILM’, ‘IILM Foundation’ and the logo of IILM Law School were also registered by the plaintiff. In 2013, It came to find the defendant using the mark ‘ILM’, in the field of educational and employment opportunties, which was identical/deceptively similar to it’s trademark ‘IILM’. It was also running the placement and recruitment program and operating a website in the name ‘www.ilmcampus.com’ which was also identical and deceptively similar to plaintiff’s websites, ‘www.iilm.edu’, ‘www.iilm.in, and ‘www.iilm.ac.in’.

The plaintiff contended that, such use amounted to financial loss and loss in reputation of the plaintiff, due to the infringment of their registered Trademark. The court observed that the plaintiff was successfully able to prove that it is the registered propreiter of the trademark IILM, and enjoys goodwill and reputation in the field of education, as it qualifies to be a well-known trademark. The court found that the defendant’s mark and websites were deceptively similar to that of the plaintiff’s. This usage by the defendant was liable to be prohibited by virtue of Sections 28 and 29(1) of the Trademarks Act, 1999, since it is also in the business of education. Consequently, the Court held that the right of the plaintiff has been infringed, and the defendant was restrained from using the mark ‘ILM’ or any other identical/deceptively similar mark to ‘IILM’. [Ram Krishan & Sons Charitable Trust v. ILM Consulting Pvt. Ltd, 2017 SCC OnLine Del 8371, decided on 17.05.2017]

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