The Hon’ble Delhi High Court, recently, refused to grant interim relief to Khadi and Village Industries Commission (“Plaintiff”) against use of its mark, KHADI by Girdhar Industries & Anr. (“Defendant”), in a suit for trade mark infringement.
It was the Plaintiff’s case that, by virtue of prior use of the mark KHADI, its rights in the mark precede the Defendant’s rights in the mark GIRDHAR KHADI. Accordingly, Plaintiff had sought cancellation of registrations granted in the Defendant’s favour for the mark GIRDHAR KHADI.
The Defendant argued that its rights in the mark GIRDHAR KHADI were much prior to that of the Plaintiff in the mark KHADI, for goods such as soaps and detergents. Further, the Defendant had submitted that the onus was on the Plaintiff to prove that it was using the mark KHADI in relation to soaps and detergents prior to the Defendant’s adoption of its mark. In order to prove its prior use, the Plaintiff had relied on evidence such as news articles, licenses for manufacture of soaps, etc.
The court while refusing the interim relief observed that, the Defendant was the registered proprietor of the mark GIRDHAR KHADI. Therefore, no infringement action can be held to be valid against a registered mark. As regards passing off, the court observed that the Plaintiff was unable to substantiate that the mark KHADI had acquired goodwill and reputation in relation to soaps, prior to 2001, the date of use of the mark GIRDHAR KHADI by the Defendant. The goodwill or reputation acquired by the Plaintiff after that date, was of no consequence. Further, the court held that the evidence submitted by the Plaintiff was only indicative of the fact that the Plaintiff was venturing into production of soaps and detergents and did not prove actual use of the mark KHADI on soaps or detergents.
Accordingly, the court declined to grant an interim relief to the Plaintiff.
Khadi And Village Industries Commission vs. Girdhar Industries And Anr. CS (COMM) 130 of 2022, Judgment dated December 28, 2023