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The Bombay High Court on Monday recognized ITC’s ‘Aashirvaad’ and its trade dress as well-known trademarks.
The Single Judge Bench of Justice SJ Kathawalla imposed costs on the defendant for using ITC’s trademark, and directed for the material bearing the impugned trademark/trade dress to be destroyed within a stipulated period of time.
The case pertained to the trade dress used by ITC for its Atta/Flour products. It was submitted by ITC that it had conceived the idea of Aashirvaad “honestly and independently” in 2001, and had commissioned McCann-Erickson India Limited to create artwork for the packaging of the flour line.
After the artwork was created, it was assigned to ITC for legitimate consideration in April 2003, following which the plaintiff applied to protect and safeguard this trademark under the Trade Marks Act, 1999.
The plaintiff also told the Court that this trademark has been used by ITC uninterruptedly since the year 2002 in respect of its Atta and Flour products. On account of this, the plaintiff has goodwill in the market associated with the said trademark and is the common law owner/proprietor of the same. In this regard, the Court observed,
“The Plaintiff has also zealously protected its trademarks and successfully enforced its rights in the trade mark “AASHIRVAAD” and Aashirvaad Trade Dress over the years.”
The Court noted that several High Courts have, in the past, granted injunctions in ITC’s favour restraining various defendants from using the trade mark or trade dress associated with Aashirvaad.
The defendant in this case, thus, agreed to discontinue using the impugned trade mark and trade dress. The Directors of the company have undertaken to pay a sum of Rs 10 lakh towards costs/damages in favour of “Tata Memorial Hospital”.
The Court accepted this undertaking and directed for the packaging paraphernalia of the defendants bearing the impugned trademark to be destroyed within a period of two weeks.
ITC was represented by Senior Advocate Ravi Kadam, along with Advocates Tanmayi Rajyadhaksha, Smriti Yadav, and Dhiren Karania instructed by Khaitan and Co. The defendant was represented by Advocate Bhagwati Trivedi.