Mere phonetic similarity in two brand names is not sufficient to uphold a claim of trademark infringement, the Bombay high court (HC) observed while rejecting the plea of International Foodstuffs Company.
International Foodstuffs Company had sought a restraint on Parle Products Limited from using the brand name London Dairy for its confectionery, Londonderry, a candy. International Foodstuffs filed a suit against Parle Products and its sister concern, Parle Biscuits, for alleged infringement of its trademark, London Dairy, and passing of as one of its products.
Justice Gautam Patel, however, found no prima-facie substance in the contentions of the Dubai-based company, and dismissed it on April 11.
“Visually, there is nothing common between the two... The words themselves are different. The mark of International Foodstuffs refers to milk products manufactured in England’s capital. The two may have the same pronunciation, but that is not the entirety of the test,” said the judge while rejecting the plea of International Foodstuffs Company, which manufactures London Dairy ice cream.
The judge noted the two products were distinct and packaged differently and their price was in a distinct range as well.
“The point is that the vendibility of the two products is so different that, in addition to the visual distinctiveness, I can see no possibility of any person, however average his intellect or imperfect his recollection, confusing one for the other,” said justice Patel, adding, “When it comes to questions on similarity, the test is one of perception.”
The court noted that even if it is assumed that the words “London Dairy”, when used in relation to ice-cream, might connote the goods of the plaintiff (International Foodstuffs) and the plaintiff alone, but that is not what Parle Products do. “That is not what they do at all. They do not vend or manufacture ice cream. They vend nothing like it,” the court said.