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This article summarises the judgment of High Court of New Delhi dated 28thFebruary 2018 in the case “Coca Cola Company v Glacier Water Industries Ltd.”.
Brief Insight Into The Dispute:
This case pertains to the infringement, passing off and unfair competition of registered trademark ‘KINLEY’. Coca Cola Company (hereinafter “the plaintiff”) is the registered proprietor of the mark ‘KINLEY’in class 32, which is primarily used by the plaintiff in relation to drinking water. Glacier Water Industries Ltd. (hereinafter “the defendant”) were using the mark ‘KINLEY’ for water purification systems using reverse osmosis. The Defendant falsely claimed to have launched their water system in collaboration with the plaintiff no.1’s Indian subsidiary, The Coca Cola India Pvt. Ltd., but no such collaboration exists. The Defendant openly advertised its product using the mark ‘KINLEY’. The Defendant also applied for registration of the mark KINLEY bearing Application No. 2329491 in Class 11 for the specifications”water purifier, water supply and sanitary purpose” claiming use since 1st April, 2011. The Court vide order dated 29.04.2013granted an ad interim injunction in favour of the Plaintiff which restricted the Defendant from using the mark till further orders.
The application is decided ex parte by Justice Manmohan.
- The Defendant was openly advertising its product, and that the mark KINLEY was displayed prominently on its products.
- The Defendant created websites like www.glacierswater.com, www.kinley.in and www.kinleyro.com using the registered mark of the Plaintiff.
- The reliefs sought under the prayer clause of the application are;
a. A decree of permanent injunction restraining the defendant from doing any acts or deeds amounting to or likely to –
(ii) passing off;
(iii) unfair competition;
b. A mandatory injunction to direct the Defendant to transfer the domain name to the Plaintiff.
c. Costs of the proceedings.
d. And for such other and further reliefs as the court may deem fit.
Arguments Before The Court:
The arguments advanced by the Plaintiff are –
- It is contended that the Defendant is advertising its products by displaying the registered mark ‘KINLEY’ on their promotional materials.
- The Defendant has falsely claimed to have launched their water system in collaboration with the plaintiff no.1’s Indian subsidiary, The Coca Cola India Pvt. Ltd., whereas, in fact, no such collaboration exists.
- The Defendant has applied for registration of the mark KINLEY for the specifications “water purifier, water supply and sanitary purpose” claiming use since 1st April, 2011
- The Plaintiff has proved that their sales amounted to Rs.4,229 crores (approx.) and advertising expenses amounted to Rs.839 crores.
- It is further contended that the Defendant have created websites www.glacierswater.com, www.kinley.in and www.kinleyro.com using the registered mark of the Plaintiff.
- Also, the Court vide order dated 29.04.2013 granted an ad interim injunction in favour of the Plaintiff which restricted the Defendant from using the mark till further orders.
Decision Of The Court:
The court thus decided;
- The plaintiff’s mark ‘KINLEY’ hasacquired reputation and goodwill in the marks in India as well as globally.
- The defendants have dishonestly used the ‘KINLEY’ trademark of the Plaintiff in relation to water purification system.
- The trademark ‘KINLEY’ used by the defendant, amounts toinfringement and passing off of the plaintiff’s trademark.
The Courtheld that due to extensive use over substantial period of time, the plaintiff’s mark ‘KINLEY’ have acquired reputation and goodwill in India as well as globally. The Court further observed that as the Defendant have not appeared before the Court, the evidence submitted by the Plaintiff is accepted as true and correct. The Court relied on the case of Ramesh Chand Ardawatiya Vs. Anil Panjwani, AIR 2003 SC 2508 which held that –
“A prima facie proof of the relevant facts constituting the cause of action would suffice and the court would grant the plaintiff such relief as to which he may in law be found entitled.”
The Court disposed off the case by holding that the trademark KINLEY used by the defendant, amounts to infringement and passing off of the plaintiff’s trademark and the Defendant will compensate the Plaintiff by paying costs.
Note: Several quotations from the judgement are included in this article. The complete judgment can be found here.