Trademarks are distinguishing devices used by businesses to
distinguish their goods and services from those produced by others.
Confusion is one of the main grounds for a trademark infringement
claim. Infringement by confusion can involve-Confusion between
related products, Confusion as to source,Confusion as to
sponsorship, Initial interest confusion etc. The present case
Merisant Company 2 Saral & Anr. V. Equal Minerals & Anr.
2010 (42) PTC 686 (Del.) decided on-24.02.2010 arises as
consequence of confusion caused by a deceptively similar
Merisant Company 2 Saral & Anr the plaintiff are engaged in
manufacturing ang marketing of granulated sweetner under the
trademark EQUAL. It is a well-known trademark in India and other
countries of the world. This trademark EQUAL was regiatered in
class 1,30. Equal Minerals & Anr. the defendants use the
trademark EQUAL(=).the trademark was initially registered in
respect of plastic auto parts. Equal Minerals & Anr. started
their business under the name of M/s Narang Technoplast owned by
Shri Ashok Narang. Shri Ashok Narang and his family members are
carrying business in respect of plastic bottles, mineral water and
plastic Auto Parts. they are using the trademark for above
Merisant Company 2 Saral & Anr. contendad that Equal
Minerals for trademark infringement and Equal Minerals & Anr
mark is s deceptively similar to their trademark. Which is causing
them loss of business and reputation, they further pleaded for
grant of injunction.
Equal Minerals & Anr averded that that their trademark is
EQUAL with a geometrical sign of EQUAL(=) was used since
July,1988.this trademark was registered by trademark registrar
after a thorough research. Equal Minerals & Anr. also submitted
that Merisant Company 2 Saral & Anr. Allegation of passing
off/infringement were baseless, it is further stated that Merisant
Company 2 Saral & Anr. Had no reputation in india neither they
had copyright over design of word 'EQUAL' . It is further
stated by Equal Minerals & Anr that the trademark EQUALin
respect of minerals and aerated water was granted to Merisant
Company 2 Saral & Anr only on 20th March 2003,much
after the trademark EQUAL was registered in their favour.
Equal Minerals & Anr have further argued that there is no
evidence of user of trademark EQUAL by Merisant Company 2 Saral
& Anr. in india, as all documents filed by Merisant Company 2
Saral & Anr.along with the application and with the plaint
showed that their product was being sold and marketed outside India
viz., USA and Europe and Merisant Company 2 Saral & Anr had no
sale in India.It is further argued that Merisant Company 2 Saral
& Anr has not placed on record advertisements of its products
in any newsparer or magazine in India. All advertisements placed on
record are only of US and the illustrations filed are also of US.
Equal Minerals & Anr stated that mere registration of trademark
EQUAL in India does not amount to use of trademark in india.
Equal Minerals & Anr argued that the description of goods as
well as business activities of Merisant Company 2 Saral & Anr
is absolutely different from their products. As the product
'Aspartame base dlow calories sweetner' by Merisant Company
2 Saral & Anr is a pharmaceutical preparation and isused under
medical advice only by a limited class of people i.e. diabetic
patients or consumers who want to be on low calories sweetner in
order to avoid putting on more body waight. Whereas the goods of
qual Minerals & Anr are mineral water, and sparkling soda for
general use and purpose. Their products would be available at
petrol pumps,restaurants,local shops,even at traffic signals and
movable-cart shops.thus it cannot be said to be identical with and
deceptively similar to products Merisant Company 2 Saral & Anr
in any manner. Further their trademark is EQUAL with a geometrical
sign of EQUAL(=).Equal Minerals & Anr claimed that their
trademark was registered and hence no occasion for infringement
would lie.It was further contended by Equal Minerals & Anr that
Merisant Company 2 Saral & Anr are not in the business of
selling mineral water and sparkling soda.
In order to grant intermin infunction order XXXIX rules 1 and 2
CPC,party has to prove three elements. 1st that it has a
good prima facie case,2nd incase injunction is not
granted it will suffer irrepable losses and 3rd the
balance of convenience lies in its favour.it can be infered by the
above submissions of Merisant Company 2 Saral & Anr. neither of
the submissions prove the three elements.
The Court held that As niether of the three elements required
are proved, the honourable high court of delhi found no force in
the application made by Merisant Company 2 Saral & Anr. Thus
the application stands dismissed.
In a recent case decided by the Delhi High Court, Justice R.K. Gauba granted a permanent injunction in favor of Mother Dairy, restraining the use of its trademark/trade dress by the S.K. Raheem & Others.
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Just as in the case of physical property such as land, every owner of a Brand or Trademark has the right to sell, license, transfer, etc. its respective brand or trademark in accordance with legal procedures.
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