Recently, the Delhi High Court refused to grant an interim injunction to Campus Active Wear Ltd. (“Plaintiff”) against Rama Shankar Garg & Ors. (“Defendants”), from using the CAMPS and CAMPS Device marks.
The Plaintiff submitted that it has been using the CAMPUS mark since 1984 and adopted its logo of the reverse red double-tick in the year 1997. As per the Plaintiff, the Defendants obtained a registration for the mark CAMPS only in the year 2001, and the Defendants have adopted the Plaintiff’s reverse red double-tick logo in its entirety. The Plaintiff also relied on screenshots from the Defendants’ website showing counterfeit goods of other brands being sold by the Defendants.
On the other hand, the Defendants claimed that they have been using the mark CAMPS since 1980 and the CAMPS logo since 1996. As per the Defendants, the Plaintiff starting using the CAMPUS mark only after the Defendants’ goods started gaining popularity in the 2000s. The Defendants also submitted that the Plaintiff’s claim of infringement is invalid since the Defendants are protected as prior users under Indian trade mark law.
The court observed that both parties have equal standing in terms of their statutory rights. The court, further noted that in the absence of a plea of invalidity of the Defendants’ registration by the Plaintiff, it cannot press for an interim injunction on the ground of infringement.
The court then addressed the question of passing off. The court noted that the Plaintiff had not placed any document on record to show that it is the prior user, and opined that the rights of a prior user are legally superior over those of a registered proprietor who obtained registration later. Further, it was held that the Plaintiff had failed to place any evidence on record to show that the adoption of the Defendants’ mark was dishonest. Lastly, the court observed that the substantial delay in filing the suit tilts the balance of convenience in favour of the Defendants. In light of this, the Plaintiff’s application for an interim injunction was dismissed.
Campus Active Wear Ltd v. Rama Shankar Garg & Ors., CS(COMM) 387/2022, Judgement dt. March 7, 2023, Delhi High Court