India: "TIGER HILL"; Beer Free of Charges of Deception

Last Updated: 14 June 2006
Article by Manisha Singh Nair

Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd, an incorporation in Singapore manufactures beer under the trademark ‘TIGER Beer’. Asia Pacific Breweries claims to be the owner and user of the mark since 1932. The company owns 14 Breweries in eight countries round the world.

Superior Industries Ltd, a Company under the Indian Companies Act, 1956 is also a user of the mark TIGER beer. In this event, Asia Pacific Breweries filed a suit for permanent injunction restraining Superior Industries from using the mark.

In the course of their pleadings, Asia Pacific Breweries presented a certified extract from the Register of Trade Marks in respect of their registration. They further stated that their labels had been registered in 58 countries from Europe, Asia, America and Africa but no certificate in relation to any such registration was presented. Asia Pacific Breweries stated that their product was brewed by a highly automated process to ensure high standards and to maintain consistency in quality in all of its markets round the world. TIGER beer claims to have been acknowledged as the WORLD’S BEST BEER and has the distinction of "gold medal beer". Further, the brand TIGER was said to have become synonymous with TIGER BEER and the recipient of accolades from some of the leading newspapers and journals. Several such acclaims were stated for Asia Pacific Breweries to substantiate that it enjoyed tremendous goodwill and reputation all around the world. It was further pleaded that they were already making sales to importers, Indian Airlines, ITDC, embassies and hotels and planned to develop its market in India, through other channels post the lift of the Govt. ban on sales of beer by overseas companies.

In June 2001, on learning of Superior Industries’ brand TIGER HILL, Asia Pacific Breweries communicated with them and negotiations were made for an agreeable settlement, though the deal fell out. Asia Pacific Breweries alleged Superior Industries of an infringement of its mark and an attempt to pass-off its goods to an unwary purchaser of average intelligence, as that sold by Asia Pacific Breweries.

Superior Industries contesting the suit, denied averments regarding the claimed trans-border reputation held by Asia Pacific Breweries. They contended that Asia Pacific Breweries hadn’t entered the Indian markets and supply to certain dealers or select customers in a clandestine manner did not prove their popularity amongst ordinary customers in the country. Further, averments regarding the registration of the trademark in India and abroad were also denied. They claimed to be users of the mark TIGER HILL since the capture of the post during the Kargil war. They further asserted that the trademark and device of both the brands being materially different with no phonetic or visual similarity, having different packaging and a stark difference existent in pricing (that of Asia Pacific Breweries about six times higher), there subsisted no likelihood or confusion in the minds of the consumers. It was further contended that TIGER was a common language word and Asia Pacific Breweries cannot claim that monopoly over it.

Asia Pacific Breweries also filed an application for interim injunction, which was contested on similar grounds. It was also pointed out that when the case was taken up for the first time in May 2002, summons were ordered but no ex parte injunction was granted.

The Court taking note of various contentions placed forth it stated that Asia Pacific Breweries was not in a position to seek a grant for injunction on the basis of trans-border reputation. The fact that they had not placed on record any evidence to show worldwide registrations or to prove voluminous sales in or outside India or even extensive advertisements in India /foreign countries.

Turning its attention to the contention regarding deception of an unwary customer of average intelligence and imperfect memory, the Court stated that a prima facie case for grant of injunction was made out in a passing off action.

Taking note of Asia Pacific Breweries’ non-submission of registration certificates in respect of labels, the Court reiterated that mere registration was insufficient to prove the actual user of the Trademark. They further said that unless the two competing labels were available for comparison, it would not be possible for the Court to return a finding even prima facie that a case of infringement or copyright was made out. The Court held that unless the essential features such as get-up, packing and other marks show marked differences, or indicate clearly a trade origin different from that of the registered proprietor of the mark would be immaterial whereas in a case of passing off, the alleged party may escape liability even if it is shown that the added matter is sufficient to distinguish his goods from the other.

The Court further held that the two companies supplying beer to two different segments of society, (i.e. Asia Pacific only to select hotels, airlines etc. while Superior Industries were suppliers at a retail level), there arose no possibility of an average person mistaking one brand to be the other. A visual comparison of the two was stated not to be indicatory of deceptive similarity except in the use of the word TIGER. Examining the layout on the can of Asia Pacific Breweries and the bottle marketed by Superior Industries, further substantiated the Court’s conclusion.

The Court stated that taking prima facie record of what was placed forth, Asia Pacific Breweries had failed in establishing a case in their favour. This reiterates that to establish trans-border reputation the evidence of foreign registration and sale in foreign countries need to proven beyond doubt. In this case it was found that Asia Pacific’s word TIGER had not assumed secondary significance to the extent that it denoted its products. However, the conclusion held is that though Asia Pacific has not been able to make out a prima facie case for interim injunction it may by way of evidence , during the trial, make out a good case of infringement and passing off.

© Lex Orbis 2006

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.