The principles of trademark law in India permit any trader to
adopt a mark that consists of numerals. But are the principles of
likelihood of confusion for word marks applicable to numerals as
well? The Delhi High Court had to recently decide on these lines in
the case of Mona Aggarwal & Anr vs. Glossy & Piants
Pvt. Ltd. & Anr.
In this case the Plaintiff i.e. Glossy Colour Paint Pvt. Ltd,
claimed that it had prior use over the mark "1001"
because of its adoption since 1946, it was also claimed that the
mark was distinctive because of the unique presentation of the
number '1001' with the zeroes having eyes. Furthermore, the
mark was used in relation to paints, distempers, varnishes, etc.
There was a clear disconnect between the mark and the goods
(thereby establishing the distinctiveness of the mark).
The Respondent claimed that it had adopted the impugned mark
"6004" since 2011 and the color scheme, get-up and
packaging in respect of its trademark for similar line of goods was
The learned Single Judge Bench after comparing the two
trademarks and applying the test of "a man of average
intelligence with imperfect recollection" observed that
prima facie the mark of the Respondent was indeed
deceptively similar to that of the Plaintiff. The similar 'Eye
Device' and the color combination were likely to confuse the
consumers. As a result an order was passed, restraining the
Respondent from making use of the impugned trademark for any
further trade purposes. The Respondent filed an appeal. At the same
time the Respondent proposed to change its mark to prevent further
litigation. The Plaintiff continued to object to the
Respondent's mark and claimed that the numeral '6004'
of the Respondent's mark would still be considered as
deceptively similar to its '1001' mark and as a result
would cause confusion.
The Court assessed the case and held that one party's
adoption of a numeral as a trademark for its products does not in
itself bar another party from adopting different numerals as a
trademark for their goods. The Respondent was granted the leave to
change its mark so as not to cause any confusion with the
Plaintiff's mark. The Court directed both parties to the suit,
to proceed to trial. The Court's move of permitting alteration
of the Respondent's trademark is a step in the right direction,
as it will prevent continuing infringement on one hand and yet
allow a trader to legitimately trade in its goods.
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