The Delhi High Court recently decreed a trademark & copyright infringement/ passing-off suit based on Dharampal Satya Group’s (“Plaintiff’) RAJNIGANDHA mark for pan masala and trade dress of the RAJNIGANDHA product, against defendants using the RAJNIPAAN mark in a similar trade dress for identical goods.
The Plaintiff claimed to have adopted the RAJNIGANDHA mark in respect of flavoured pan masalas in 1983 and owned registrations for multiple variants of the RAJNIGANDHA mark and labels. It also claimed that the mark RAJNIGANDHA was declared as a well-known trademark by the Delhi High Court in 2014. As per the Plaintiff, it came to know about the defendants’ unauthorized sales of the impugned product in late 2018 during a routine market surveillance. While two of the defendants agreed to suffer a decree upon service, the four other defendants abstained from the proceeding despite receiving multiple summons from the court.
The court noted that since the defendants had no real prospect of defending the claims and had dishonestly adopted a nearly identical mark/ trade dress, it could pass a summary judgement without recording evidence. Acknowledging the well-known status of the RAJNIGANDHA mark, the court observed that well-known marks are entitled to a higher degree of protection. The court was, however, constrained to decline the relief for grant of damages since no evidence was submitted by the Plaintiff to substantiate the quantum of damages sought and no stocks were recovered by the Local Commissioner appointed by the court at the time of grant of an interim injunction. It took notice of the defendants’ deliberate abstinence from court proceedings despite service, for which repeated efforts had been made by the Plaintiff and, accordingly, granted the Plaintiff notional damages of three lakh rupees.
Dharampal Satyapal Limited & Anr v. Mr. Youssef Anis Mehio & Ors., CS(COMM) 1255/2018. Order dt. 27 September, 2022