Reflection of rival’s info in search results not grounds for trademark infringement: Bombay HC
The Bombay high court (HC) on Tuesday refused to accept the reflection of rival’s details in online search results of a wellness spa as a ground for its trademark infringement.
A single judge bench of justice Prithviraj Chavan dismissed an appeal filed by Sharmilee Kapur who challenged refusal of temporary injunction in a trademark infringement suit filed by her against Kiran Bharekar.
Kapur, owner of a trademark “atmantan-be transformed”, has given exclusive right to use the trademark to Sparsh Infratech, which runs a luxury wellness centre at Mulshi near Pune. In 2019, Kapur and Sparsh Infratech filed the trademark infringement suit against Bharekar, who owns a registered trademark “TanMan” and runs an Ayurvedic treatment and research centre in that name and style, about 30 kms from Sparsh Infra Tech’s wellness spa.
They had moved HC after ad-hoc district judge-6, Pune on July 19, 2019 refused to issue interim injunction restraining Bharekar from using the purported “deceptively similar” trademark.
Before HC, Kapur and Sparsh Infotech alleged that the mark adopted by Bharekar was nothing but rearrangement of the first word of their trademark and was deceptively similar to that of their trademark. They contended that the nature of the trade or business was similar and was being carried out barely at a location which is 30 kms away.
“That would definitely mislead the public,” their counsel submitted and also drew the court’s attention to the fact that on searching Sparsh’s wellness spa on Google, Bharekar’s trade name is also reflected in the search results. “This would definitely affect not only the reputation and business of the appellants but also the goodwill earned by the appellants by passage of time,” the lawyer had added.
Justice Chavan was unimpressed by the argument and held that there was no similarity in the two marks, and therefore, there can be no confusion in the mind of any person about the two rival brands.
The judge said even their respective websites were quite different and therefore, there was no substance in the contention that if one scrolls down the Google search results for Sparsh’s wellness spa, Bharekar’s mark also appeared in the search results and thus, an impression was created that Bharekar’s trademark was that of Sparsh’s.