In recent times, we continued to evidence some action-packed case updates that have taken place in India in the field of Intellectual property Rights (especially Trademarks) related. In this Trademark infringement case of ISKCON Temple Vs. ISKCON Apparel Private Limited, the Bombay High Court, has declared ISKCON the registered trademark of ISKCON temple to be a “well-famed trademark” in India.
What is Trademark Infringement Case?
Trademark Infringement is termed as the unapproved use of a registered Trademark. Infringement can be made in connection with products or processes that may result in indecision, duplicity, or a misconception about the actual owner of the trademarked product or process. The actual owner of the trademark can file a suit and can take legal action if they are of the view that the mark is being infringed. If the misuse of the trademark is proven by the plaintiff to the court, a court can prevent a defendant from using the mark. Also, in most cases, the owner is rewarded with monetary relief.
Background – ISKCON Temple Vs. ISKCON Apparel Private Limited
In the case of ISKCON Temple Vs. ISKCON Apparel Private Limited, the matter was related to a trademark infringement and passing off the case against ISKCON Apparel Private Limited. The company was an apparel company using the brand name “ISKCON”. Plaintiff addressed the court claiming trademark infringement of their organization’s registered brand name. Further, the Court also examined carefully whether “ISKCON” qualifies as a well-known trademark within the ambit of the Trademarks Act, 1999.
Also, the word ISKCON was not only the registered trademark business name of the Plaintiff but was used on all the advertising material of the plaintiff, which was circulated to the devotees with no cost or at minimal prices across the nation.
Plaintiff has designed and approved different form of the mark ISKCON forming a major, crucial, and leading feature, and to secure this mark “ISKCON” has applied for various trademarks in Classes-
Class16 – Relates to Paper, Books, and Stationery.
Class 23 – Yarns and Threads
Class24 – Textile goods
Class25 – Clothing, footwear, and headgear
Class35 – Services and consultation related to business
Class41 – Education, Entertainment, and training
Class42 – Technology and software services.
Finding that came out in the Case of ISKCON Temple Vs. ISKCON Apparel Private Limited.
ISKCON Temple (The Plaintiff Party) has been actively protecting its rights in the said ISKCON marks and has successfully initiated proceedings before various courts against the Trademark infringement of its well-known mark ISKCON.
The plaintiff stated while conducting an online search, we came to know that ISKCON Apparel Private Limited is carrying on the business of clothing and clothing accessories, etc. by the name of ISKCON Apparel Private Limited, having the word ISKCON as its only leading, essential, and prominent feature.
Court Decision- in Case of ISKCON Temple Vs. ISKCON Apparel Private Limited
The company has pledged the Court to direct ISKCON Apparel Private Limited from Trademark infringement of trademark ISKCON. It also sought a declaration that their trademark ‘ISKCON’ is well-established in India. Further, Defendant Company-ISKCON Apparel Pvt Ltd. Informed the court that it has changed its name from ISKCON Apparel Pvt Ltd to Alcis Sports Private Limited. The Defendant declared that the company will not use the word ISKCON in the future.
The court in its order declared ISKCON as a “well-known” trademark in India by considering the services offered by them and the reputation and goodwill they have in the country. The court further stated that ISKCON is registered by ISKCON temple and the word ISKCON was not in use before it was registered by the plaintiff. Since ISKCON is a registered trademark exclusively associated with the plaintiff, it requires a high level of protection. Considering this, the court stated that ISKCON has a well-established reputation and goodwill in India and abroad, and the trademark only belongs to the Plaintiff.
In the Case of ISKCON Temple Vs. ISKCON Apparel Private Limited, the Court ordered Defendants by restraining them not to use the trademarked word ISKCON. As per the orders, the defendant cannot use the mark ISKCON as a part of their business name that includes the “Formerly” used to mark as ISKCON Apparel Pvt. Ltd.”
Conclusively, the decision taken by the Court was in favor of the Plaintiff company. The plaintiff (ISKCON Temples) is a registered owner of the mark ISKCON and this word ISKCON did not exist before the trademark registration by Plaintiff. Hence this trademark completely belongs to the plaintiff.
Read our article:An Outlook on Famous Trademark Infringement Cases in India