Recently, Mohan Meakin Limited (“Plaintiff”) filed a suit for permanent injunction seeking, inter alia, trade mark infringement, passing-off, and unfair competition, against The Devicolam Distilleries Ltd. (“Defendant”) for its unauthorized adoption and use of a mark and trade dress which are nearly identical to the Plaintiff’s OLD MONK mark and trade dress of its liquor bottle.
The Plaintiff, a renowned liquor company, has been using the marks OLD MONK and MONK, since 1959, in relation to liquor. Further, the Plaintiff owns registrations for the OLD MONK and MONK marks, in various classes, including Class 33, since 1971 and 2008, respectively. The Defendant filed an application to register the mark DDL’s OMR, in Class 33, on August 25, 2022, which was opposed by the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff’s contention was that the Defendant is using the OMR stylized mark on/in relation to alcoholic beverages, specifically rum, and a holistic comparison of the competing products, evidently exudes an impression of deceptive similarity between the marks/products. Accordingly, the Plaintiff had, in February 2023, sent a letter to the Defendant, demanding cessation of use of the OMR mark (which is an acronym of OLD MONK RUM), trade dress, shape and overall get up of its product. The Defendant refused to comply with the said demands.
The court, in agreement with the Plaintiff’s submissions, opined that the Defendant’s use of the OMR mark in a similar stylized font, in conjunction with a near identical trade dress, shape and overall appearance, in relation to identical products which may be stocked/sold in common premises, is, undoubtedly, an attempt to create confusion among the public, and to ride upon the Plaintiff’s coattails. Further, the court stated that the Defendant’s deliberate imitation of not only the Plaintiff’s registered well-known trade marks, but also the appearance of the alcohol bottle is a clear testimony to the Defendant’s dishonest adoption and mala fide intent.
In light of the above, the Court, passed an ex-parte ad-interim injunction in favour of the Plaintiff restraining the Defendant from using, selling, importing and/or exporting the contended product/bottle, comprising, inter alia, the impugned mark and the overall get up of the product/bottle.