Sunday, December 22, 2013

Use of trademarks with same prefix by registered owners not infringement

The Bombay High Court has said if two parties got the registrations of trademarks done using identical prefix, they could use the same for all purposes and its exclusive use by only one owner was not allowed. While relying on the Trademarks Act, the court said use of such registered trademarks by another registered owner cannot be treated as "infringement".
The court was hearing a plea by Pune resident Pritikiran Katole against a district court's order restraining him from using the trademark of 'Godwa' tagged with his businesses. The lower court had observed that it was "breach of registered trademark" used by the applicant Harsha Katole. Pritikiran moved the High Court against the order.
Taking into consideration the Act's provisions, Justice Anoop V Mohta said, "The main objection with regard to the word 'Godwa' although both the parties got registration under the provisions of the Trademarks Act, 1999, just cannot be the issue to pass such injunction order against the registered trademark owner. Such two persons cannot prevent each other from using the same registered trademark. The section itself contemplates that such registered trademark need to be treated as in their individual capacity `the sole registered proprietor'."
Justice Mohta observed that both the parties had been using the word 'Godwa' for long and were aware of each other's usage in their respective publication businesses. The court observed that Harsha had been using the title since 2008 and Pritikiran since 2006. However, no steps were taken by the former.
Pritikiran's counsel gave an undertaking to the court that the his client would not use the word 'Godwa' in the style or the design of the words that he had been using and also the manner of writing. In addition, the emblem registered by Harsha would not be used.