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Nikhil Chawla  v. The Coca Cola Company

The Delhi High Court recently heard a case based on “groundless threats of legal proceedings” seeking declaration of non-infringement. Under Indian trademark law, where a person threatens someone with an action for trademark infringement, the person aggrieved may bring a suit against the first-mentioned person and obtain a declaration that the threats are unjustifiable and an injunction against their continuance, unless the first-mentioned person satisfies the court that the acts in question constitute infringement.

In the suit filed, the plaintiff submitted that he is running a very popular online platform called “COOK STUDIO” engaged in the activity of blogging, production of video films, training, etc., particularly related to cooking. He claimed to have received legal notices from The Coca Cola Company, the registered proprietor of the mark “COKE STUDIO”, calling upon him to desist from using the COOK STUDIO mark for his culinary related blog. Coca Cola argued that the suit was not a fit case of groundless threats since use of the mark COOK STUDIO would constitute infringement of its COKE STUDIO mark. The plaintiff, in turn, submitted that there is complete disparity between the logos and colour combination of the rival marks and also that the words ‘COOK’ and ‘STUDIO’ are generic.

The Delhi High Court admitted the suit and was of the view that an attempt ought to be made to amicably resolve the dispute through mediation in the first place. Accordingly, the court referred the parties to mediation and simultaneously ordered the completion of pleadings as per the timelines set out under the commercial courts law.

Nikhil Chawla v. The Coca Cola Company CS (COMM) 313/2022 Delhi High Court Order dated May 12, 2022

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