Recently, the Delhi High Court granted a temporary injunction restraining Pioneer Trading Corporation (“Defendant”) a tyre manufacturing company, from using a tread pattern on its tyres which is deceptively similar to the tread pattern used by Apollo Tyres Limited (“Plaintiff”) on its tyres.
It was the Plaintiff’s case that, in 2015, it learned that the Defendant was manufacturing and selling tyres with a tread pattern identical to that of its tyres. Accordingly, the Plaintiff filed a suit before the Delhi High Court, and was granted an ad interim injunction. Subsequently, the parties arrived at a settlement by way of which the Defendant agreed to cease all use of the identical tread pattern, and the suit was decreed. As per the Plaintiff, the Defendant has breached the settlement agreement and launched new tyres with a pattern similar to its old tread pattern with minor cosmetic changes. Therefore, the Plaintiff filed the instant suit, in which it was granted an ex-parte ad interim injunction.
The Defendant, on the other hand, submitted that tread patterns of radial tyres were bound to have similarities in design, and relied on a certificate issued by the Indian Rubber Manufacturers Research Association certifying that the tread patterns of the tyres of the Plaintiff and the Defendants were distinct. Accordingly, the Defendant sought to have the ex-parte ad interim injunction vacated.
The Court noted that the tread pattern used by the Plaintiff is unique and not common to the trade, and that this was acknowledged by the Defendant in the settlement agreement. Furthermore, the court was of an opinion that the target consumers, largely truck drivers, recognise tyres from the tread patterns and not from the brand name. Therefore, the court held that Defendant has dishonestly adopted a similar tread pattern again in an attempt to deceive consumers and, accordingly, re-affirmed the ex-parte ad interim injunction granted in favour of the Plaintiff.
Apollo Tyres Limited v. Pioneer Trading Corporation & Ors., order dt. December 19, 2022