Trademark has become an integral part of every business concern and now a day the predicament is not with registration of the mark but as to its protection. Trademark infringements have emerged as a fertile ground of litigation. The trademark violations have badly affected many large business concerns. Presently, trademark protection has emerged as one vital element for business concerns and it has also become inevitable for the business concerns to effectively tackle the infringements through legal proceedings. The case under comment Intel Corporation v. A. Sailesh 2007 (34) PTC 492 (Del.) reflects the commendable effort of Intel Corporation in protecting their mark.
Facts of the case
M/S Intel Corporation claims to be the registered owners of the mark ‘Intel’. They further claim that it is a coined word and attaches high degree of inherent distinctiveness. They also contented that the word ‘Intel’ is the corporate name and trademark and was first introduced in U S and thereafter extended to more than 100 countries including India. The mark and the name has encompassed within itself every facet of computer industry including software and internet. Owing to much publicity and promotion, Intel has achieved significant goodwill and reputation. The grievance of the Intel Corporation is that A. Sailesh/ Defendant who is the sole proprietor of a commercial enterprise, has adopted the name M/S Intel Info Services for the business of providing internet facility as well as photocopying and typewriting facilities. It is further alleged that the use of the name ‘Intel’ is without any authorization or license on the part of the Intel Corporation. It was submitted that Intel Corporation had made several attempts to settle the matter amicably but A Sailesh had refused to recognize the Intellectual property rights of Intel Corporation. Several warning in the form of letters and telephonic calls were forwarded but, A Sailesh took little notice of them. Hence the suit was instituted.
Intel Corporation contented that as Sailesh runs a technology driven enterprise, hence cannot deny the knowledge of the Intel Corporation and alleged that they had adopted the trademark with the aim of trading and benefiting from reputation and goodwill of Intel Corporation. Further it was brought in evidence that Intel Corporation had vigilantly protected its trademark against the misuse by third parties and had initiated legal actions from infringing the trademark.
The court convinced by the contentions of Intel Corporation, held that undoubtedly the use by the defendant would dilute the distinctive character of the trademark and would cause that to be debased and eroded. The prayer of Intel Corporation is for permanent injunction and also for delivery up and rendition of accounts of profits or damages on account of use. The Court held that Intel Corporation has adequately established the infringement of the trademark and the act of passing off but has failed to provide any evidence as to the profits made by Sailesh in support of the plea of rendition of accounts or damage. The Court also pointed out that for awarding compensatory damages, evidence relating to the duration for which the defendant is carrying on its illegal activities, the extent of sales, estimation of the loss of business revenue of the plaintiff etc are required.
The case reflects the alertness required by well-known brand in protecting their mark. It could be seen that majority of the trademark litigation concerns infringement of the mark. It is evident that big brands need to be more alert in protecting their mark.
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