The case of Rolex S.A v. Rolex Sales 2009 (39) PTC 714 (CB)
dealing in Rule 16 (3) of the Copyright Rules 1958 dwells on the
requirement to give notice of every person claiming or having any
interest in the subject matter of the copyright or dispute the
right of the applicant. .Rolex S.A, manufacturers of watches under
the trademark 'Rolex' moved against Rolex Sales, engaged in
manufacturing fuel pipes under the trademark 'RFP' or
'Rolex Fuel Pipes'. Rolex S.A filed a suit stating that use
of their registered trademark by Rolex Sales was an infringement of
Rolex S.A submitted that they had acquired trademark
registrations in relation to their mark 'Rolex' in relation
to watches the world over. Rolex Sales claimed to have been using
the trademark or name of 'Rolex' after obtaining the
consent of the petitioner in 1986. In this pursuance, Rolex S.A
moved for the expunction of the impugned entry on the ground of
lack of originality and violation of statutory provisions in
relation to Rule 16(3) of the Copyright Rules of 1958.
Reverting to the contention made by Rolex S.A, Rolex Sales
submitted in their written response that the impugned copyright
registration was different and unique, since the same contained the
letters RFP, denoting Rolex Fuel Pipes. Rolex Sales averred that
they had written to Rolex S.A. about the adoption of the name
'Rolex' and that they had not objected to the same in their
reply. However Rolex S.A contended that Rolex Sales had acted in
violation of Rule 16(3) of the Copyright Rules, 1958.
To this, Rolex Sales averred that the trademarks of both Rolex
Sales and Rolex S.A were published in the Trademarks Journal of
1991 and that there was no similarity between the two trademarks,
both being distinct and independent of each other. Rolex S.A
contended that Rolex Sales were aware of the fact that Rolex S.A
had interest in the trademark since 1991 as Rolex S.A vide its
letter dated 2nd August 1991 had written to Rolex Sales about the
infringement of its trademark.
After much deliberation, the Court held that as the application
for the impugned registration was filed on 11.05.1999 by Rolex
Sales and the registration was thereof granted in 1999, Rolex Sales
was aware of the existence of mark 'Rolex' on 26.08.1991,
when the petitioner wrote a letter to it about infringement of the
trademarks of the petitioner by the respondents. The Court believed
it was enough to conclude that Rolex S.A had interest in the
subject matter of the impugned registration. Hence the Court
affirmed that Rolex Sales had a statutory obligation to give notice
of its proposed application for registration, which he failed to do
and in this light, the Court ordered for the expunction of the
impugned entry from the Register.
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