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HC bars firm from using WTC mark

mumbaipaper Updated: Jul 03, 2016, 12:27 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court has temporarily restrained a developer from using ‘World Trade Center’ as trade and service mark to promote his business centre in Nasik.

The direction in the last week came on plea filed by World Trade Center’s Association Inc, which had built the eponymous landmark venue at Nariman Point and the ill-fated twin towers in New York, among others.

The association filed a suit against House of Infrabuild Private Limited which is developing a business centre in Nasik and has been referring it as ‘World Trade Center’ at Nasik in its promotional material.

The association contended that as a non-profit, non-political association concerned with international trade and business, it represents over 320 members in more than 100 countries and promotes trade and commerce across the globe by using the trade or service marks along with the device of a globe in a Mercator projection.

It complained that the use of the words World Trade Center by the developer was not just deceptively and confusingly similar to the association’s mark, but was indistinguishable from it. “For all practical purposes, the rival mark is identical to the plaintiff ’s,” said Justice Gautam Patel while issuing the temporary restraining order.

“Anybody seeing this signage on the defendant’s (developer’s) project is bound to assume that the defendant’s commercial project is somehow associated with, or linked to, the plaintiff organisation, when clearly it is not,” the judge added.

Justice Patel also noted that the mark is a dominant, essential and leading feature of the association’s corporate name and trading style.

“In at least one jurisdiction, Spain, the World Trade Center mark has been recognised as a ‘well-known mark’,” said the judge, adding, “Indeed, given the history, background and coverage, I see no reason why it should not be recognised as a well-known mark in our jurisdiction as well.”

The court was referring to the fact that the association was registered as a membership association in August 1969 representing three continents.

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