In Tea Board, India (Plaintiff) v I.T.C
(Defendant) an appeal for interlocutory injunction was sought by
Tea Board, India against the order of the Learned Single Judge
which had found that the Tea Board, India had failed to prove a
strong prima facie case as to merit an order of
Aggrieved by the aforementioned order, the Tea Board, India,
contented against the findings of the Single Judge in the following
That the Learned Single Judge had failed to appreciate the
scope of the right conferred upon the Plaintiff by virtue of the
registration either under the Act or under the G.I Act.
That the Learned Single Judge had also failed to appreciate the
scope of the doctrine of passing off which was applicable in the
facts of the present case.
That the Plaintiff having alleged both the infringement of the
Registered trademark and passing off, the learned Single Judge
should have restrained the Defendant from using the word
"DARJEELING" as any part of the name of the lounge
adopted by it.
The I.T.C in turn argued as here under:
That the registration given in favour of the plaintiff was in
respect of Certification Trade Marks and thus, there was no scope
of alleging infringements under Sections 28-29 of the Act and
consequently, no right accrued in favour of the plaintiff also in
alleging violation of passing off as the Plaintiff was neither
trading with the goods nor carrying on any business in the name of
That the Single Judge had rightly decided and the Court should
not interfere with the discretion exercised by the Single
The main issue that arose for determination in this appeal was
whether the Learned Single Judge in the facts of the case of the
present case was justified in refusing the prayer of interim relief
in favour of the Plaintiff during the pendency of the suit.
The Court observed thus:
With regard to the registered word mark "DARJEELING"
used for the goods and description "tea" made under
Chapter IX relating to Certification Trade Marks under the act, it
was observed that in considering Sections 75 and 78 against Section
28 and 29 it was different from one another and therefore the basis
on infringement of the right conferred under Section 18 of the Act
cannot have any application here.
The Plaintiff citing foreign judgments where the word
"DARJEELING" was prevented from being used was not
relevant because those foreign courts had no occasion to deal with
the provisions contained in the Trademarks Act or the G.I Act of
this country, and where the court here was concerned with the
existence of prima facie case of the plaintiff, those foreign
decisions could not be used here.
With respect to the allegation of passing off. The court
observed that, here, the Plaintiff was neither a trader of tea nor
was it in the service of rendering hospitality to the public. It
was a creature of a statute that had obtained registration of its
Certification Trademarks for protecting its authority to certify
that a particular type of tea was connected with the Darjeeling
region to protect its interest. It was not the case of the
Plaintiff that the Defendant was trying to pose before the public
that it also had authority of the certification or that it had
proclaimed by naming one of its lounges as that of "DARJEELING
LOUNGE" that it was the authority to give such certificate or
that it was an agent or authorized representative of the Plaintiff.
The Court thus observed that the averments made in the plaint did
not make any prima facie case of passing
As regards the right conferred upon the plaintiff by the G.I
Act, the Court observed that the learned Single Judge was right in
prima facie holding that the right conferred on registration under
the G.I Act in respect of the goods "tea", did not confer
any right over the word "Darjeeling", a geographical
name, so as to prevent the Defendant from rendering its services of
hospitality to the public by naming one of the lounges of its hotel
as "DARJEELING LOUNGE" as the object of the G.I Act is to
give a better protection of the geographical indication relating to
goods. It was not the case of the Plaintiff that the Defendant was
using the word "DARJEELING" for the purpose of falsely
asserting that it had the right to certify that the tea served in
the lounge was grown in the region of the district Darjeeling nor
had the defendant used the logo of the Plaintiff. It was therefore
found that the Plaintiff had prima facie failed to prove that there
was any violation of the registered Certificate Trademark.
In the light of the abovementioned considerations the Court thus
opined that the Learned Single Judge had rightly refused the prayer
for interim order and that there was no other reason to arrive at a
different conclusion. The appeal was consequently, refused.
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