Iskcon, a well-known trademark, apparel firm must not use it: HCUpdated: Jun 28, 2020 23:14 IST
The Bombay high court on Friday declared ‘Iskcon’ to be the registered trademark of the religious organisation International Society for Krishna Consciousness and a ‘well-known mark in India’. The declaration implies that anyone found using the trademark, would be liable for prosecution and damages for infringement. The court issued the declaration while hearing a suit by the organisation, wherein, it had sought restraint on an apparel company from using the said trademark. The decree of ‘well known’ trademark is usually issued by the trademark registry.
The bench of Justice BP Colabawalla, while hearing a commercial intellectual property suit filed by the religious organisation through advocates Hiren Kamod, Vaibhav Keni and Neha Iyer submitted that Iskcon Apparel Pvt. Ltd, sold its products online using the name Iskcon. This action of the company amounted to an infringement of the trademark registered in the name of the organisation.
Kamod further submitted that the infringement by the apparel company came to light in February and as a repeated summons to the company went unanswered, the organisation approached the court seeking a permanent injunction restraining the company from using its trademark. Kamod referred to the plea which stated that after the summons was issued the company changed its name to Alcis Sports Pvt Ltd but continued to use the term Iskcon prominently in all their products.
Referring to an organisation, Kamod submitted that Iskcon was established in 1966 in New York and had since created for itself a global presence that was not restricted to any particular goods, services or activities, but to a diverse range of categories. Kamod added that the organisation’s trademark had come to enjoy a personality that is beyond the scope of mere products, services rendered under the trademark.
In light of these submissions Kamod said that as parameters for ‘well-known trademark’ as per the Trade Marks Act, 1999 were fulfilled in the present case, the court should declare it so.
After perusing the material on record, the court opined that the plaintiff’s trademark satisfied requirements and tests as per sections 11(6) and 11 (7) of the Trade Marks Act and said “Since Iskcon is a coined mark which is exclusively associated with the plaintiff religious organisation, it undoubtedly deserves the highest degree of protection. The documents show that the trademark Iskcon has acquired immense and long-standing reputation and goodwill throughout India and it is associated with the plaintiff and none else.”
Given the undertaking by apparel company, Justice Colabawalla perpetually restrained it from using the term Iskcon in any manner, passed a decree in favour of religious organisation and ruled, “In view thereof, I find no difficulty in holding that the plaintiff’s trademark Iskcon is a ‘well known’ trademark in India as per the Trade Marks Act.”