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The Delhi High Court recently declared the mark BUKHARA, the name of an iconic restaurant in New Delhi, as well-known is a suit for trademark infringement and passing off filed by ITC Limited (“Plaintiff”) against Central Park Private Limited and St. Jerome Hospitality Management Services Pvt. Ltd. (“Defendants”), for using the nearly identical mark BALKH BUKHARA in relation to their restaurant.

The Plaintiff submitted that it adopted and has used the mark BUKHARA in relation to its restaurant and hospitality services since the late 1970s in India. As per the Plaintiff, the BUKHARA restaurant is known for its interiors, decor, layout, cutlery, the wooden menu cards, etc. which it has maintained over the years. The Plaintiff also submitted that some of the dishes served in the restaurant are globally acclaimed, and that it has been visited by various world-renowned celebrities, presidents, and heads of states.

While the suit was decreed by the court in terms of the agreement between the parties, the court also declared the Plaintiff’s BUKHARA mark to be a well-known mark. The court, in arriving at this decision, considered the Plaintiff’s trade mark registrations, the awards won by the BUKHARA restaurant, the restaurant’s revenues, media coverage, etc. The Defendants, on the other hand, submitted that the Plaintiff’s BUKHARA mark was refused protection in the United States. The court, while analyzing the judgments of the US courts held that, these judgements would not be applicable in India, as the mark originated in India and enjoys substantial goodwill and reputation in the country which is evident from the voluminous evidence submitted by the Plaintiff. The court held that not only is the BUKHARA mark intrinsically connected to Indian cuisine, but the Plaintiff’s restaurant has internationalized India’s cuisine, and is therefore, evidently well-known. Accordingly, the court directed the Registrar of Trade Marks to add the BUKHARA mark to the list of well-known marks.

ITC Limited v. Central Park Estates Private Limited & Anr., CS (COMM) 781/2022, C.O. (COMM IPD-TM) 763/2022 and CO (COMM IPD-TM) 764/2022, Judgment dt. November 14, 2022

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