Five Surprising 2022 Trademark Infringement Lawsuits

The year 2022 is a defining chapter in the tapestry of trademark jurisprudence in India. Within this temporal realm, several profound verdicts have not merely clarified the bedrock tenets of trademark law but also bestowed nuanced perspectives on how courts construe statutory trademark provisions. Below, we plunge into the crucible of some pivotal judgments from 2022, casting a luminous gaze on matters entwined with trademark infringement.

Renaissance Hotel Holdings Inc. V. B. Vijaya Sai And Others

In this legal saga, the claimants, proprietors of the “Renaissance” trademark, contested a Karnataka High Court ruling. Their plea aimed at restraining the defendants from deploying the trademark “Sai Renaissance” or any cognate emblem. Navigating the realms of the hospitality industry, the nuanced approach meticulously weighed the legislative intent enshrined in Section 29 of the Trade Marks Act, of 1999.

The Supreme Court delved into the legislative nuances embedded in Sections 29, 30, and 31 of the Act. It underscored that when confronted with identical or akin trademarks within the same category, the court presupposes a proclivity to befuddle the public. This overturned the High Court’s stance, asserting that substantiating actual deception and damage was imperative even in the presence of proven infringement.

Pernod Ricard India Private Limited V. Frost Falcon Distilleries Limited (2nd March 2022):

This case accentuated the pivotal role of the anti-dissection test in appraising trademarks as cohesive entities. The plaintiff alleged encroachment upon “Blender’s Pride” and “Imperial Blue” by the defendant’s mark “Casinos Pride.” The court factored in elements such as the mark’s recognition, longevity of usage, and distinctiveness to ascertain deceptive similarity.

The court decreed that the term “Pride” did not exclusively belong to the plaintiff. Employing the plain glance test, it discerned no infringement. The ruling underscored the necessity of evaluating deceptive similarity through the lens of an average consumer and taking into account diverse factors in trademark infringement litigations.

On March 21, 2022, RPG Enterprises Limited v. Riju Ghoshal Trading As RPG:

This case reiterated the fundamental tenets of Indian trademark law. The plaintiff’s mark “RPG” had attained secondary significance. The court scrutinized variables like awareness, acknowledgment, and advertising tenure to affirm the mark’s well-known status. Emphasizing the deceptive similarity litmus test, the court held the defendant culpable, accentuating the legislature’s intent for robust protection of marks enjoying wide renown.

ITC Ltd. v. Central Park Estates Private Ltd., (14th November 2022):

This case delved into the import of well-known marks in Indian jurisprudence. It traversed the terrain of the territoriality principle and the famous marks doctrine under US law. The court safeguarded the “Bukhara” mark, acknowledging its well-known status in India, despite dissenting views from a US court based on territoriality. The decision underscored the acknowledgment of transborder reputation in Indian trademark law.

Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries V. Dwd Pharmaceuticals Ltd., (22nd November 2022):

In this legal bout, the plaintiffs alleged trademark infringement of “Forzest” by the defendant’s “Folzest.” Despite reservations regarding the plaintiff’s disclosure, the court factored in the broader public interest in pharmaceutical goods. The case spotlighted the delicate equilibrium between private rights and public welfare, extending provisional relief for the plaintiff due to the potential for deception in pharmaceutical commodities.

In summation, these epochal cases of 2022 have not only sculpted trademark jurisprudence in India but also proffered invaluable perspectives into the intricacies of trademark infringement litigations.

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