The case of Champagne Moet and
Chandon vs. Union of India & Ors .was an appeal by
Champagne Moet (Petitioner), against an order passed by the
Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) which dismissed
Champagne Moet's appeal against an order passed by the Deputy
Registrar of Trademarks (DR).
The Petitioner, in this case is a
company established under the laws of France and is a well- known
manufacturer of wines which are sold under the trademark
"MOET, MOET & CHANDON". The Respondent is M/s
Moet's, a partnership firm, dealing in meat, fish, poultry, and
The Court noted as a significant
point that the Respondent had earlier also applied for registration
of the mark "MOET'S" under class 16 in respect of
paper and paper products. The petitioner had opposed this, however
their opposition had been dismissed by the DR, and there had been
no subsequent appeal against the said order.
The Petitioner alleged that the
adoption of the mark "MOET" by the Respondent as its
trading style or as a trademark was fraudulent and dishonest,
particularly so because they had used two dots on the letter
"E". It was further stated that the Respondent had copied
the essential features of the Petitioner's trademark. The
Petitioner contended further that even if the Respondent were to
remove the two dots over the letter "E", the mark
currently used by them was different from the one which they had
been granted registration for. Another line of argument that the
Petitioners took was that their product i.e. wine and the
Respondent product (food) were both table products, therefore the
trade channel was common. Next, it was contended that the mere fact
that the Petitioner had been unsuccessful to challenge the grant of
registration of the trademark "MOET'S" under Class 16
did not make much difference because the Respondent had at no point
commercially sold any products under class 16. Lastly, it was
contended that there was no acquiescence on the part of the
Petitioner as it had opposed the application of the Respondent, as
and when they had first become aware of it.
In reply, the Respondent drew a
distinction between infringement and registration proceedings under
the Trademark Act, 1958. It was pointed out that Section 12(3) TM
Act, 1958 permitted the Registrar to grant registration of
identical marks in favour of more than one proprietor if there was
honest and concurrent use of identical marks in relation to the
"same goods or description of goods". It was submitted
that the Respondent had successfully made out a case for grant of
registration on the ground of honest and concurrent use as well as
the existence of special circumstances in terms of Section 12 (3)
In the light of the concurrent
findings of the DR and the IPAB, the Delhi High Court was not
inclined to exercise its powers of judicial review under Article
226 of the Constitution. The DR had concluded that while the sales
figures furnished by the Respondent had been supported by invoices
and other correspondences, the Petitioners had not produced any
satisfactory evidence of use prior to 1980. The IPAB had similarly
found that "there was absolutely no evidence or material on
record to establish that the appellant's products are openly
available in the market in India which alone would establish the
goodwill and reputation of the appellant in the trade".
Another significant aspect was that all of the documents produced
by the Petitioner referred to the Trademark as a composite mark
"MOET & CHANDON" and not "MOET" alone.
The Court further noted that the
argument of the Petitioner that the trade channels of both the
parties was same could not be accepted, as wines are sold in bars
as well. On the question of acquiescence, the Court stated that the
contention that a dishonest adoption of a mark would not entitle
the Respondent to raise the defence of acquiescence was not tenable
in view of the finding that the use of the mark by the Respondent
was not dishonest.
Thus, based on the abovementioned
reasons, the Delhi High Court found no reason to interfere with the
impugned order of the IPAB. The petition was therefore
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