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The Delhi High Court recently restrained an entity from using any mark that is deceptively similar to that of Malabar Gold Pvt Ltd or from using the phrase “Malabar Group”.
The Court also restrained the entity from using the color combination associated with the jewelry brand, Malabar Gold Pvt Ltd i.e. gold and purple, and from describing itself as an initiative/division of “M. Malabar”.
The ex-parte interim injunction was passed by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Prateek Jalan in a trademark infringement suit by Malabar Gold Pvt Ltd (plaintiff) against Manuvel Mezhukanal (defendant), who runs Manuvel Malabar Jewellers.
According to the plaintiff, the significant components of its trademark were the capital letter “M” along with a dot, which was extensively used in the color combination of purple and gold, with or without the word “MALABAR”.
It was the plaintiff’s grievance that the defendant had adopted a similar color scheme and the name “MALABAR”, as well as a device using capital letter “M” and a dot, for the business of gold loans and the sale of jewelry.
To establish the claim, the plaintiff placed on record the evidence of the defendant’s use of a deceptively similar mark in a newspaper advertisement. In the advertisement, the defendant had described itself as a “Malabar Initiative” and used a purple and gold color scheme for its gold loan business under the brand name “Minsara”.
The logo used by the defendant was the letter “M” in a stylised font with a dot.
Even the website of the defendant described “Minsara” as “an initiative by “M. MALABAR” and “A MALABAR GROUP INITIATIVE”.
The plaintiff further informed the Court that the defendant had also come up with a logo for its jewellery business. The logo had the word “MALABAR” in capital letters, which was similar to the plaintiff’s trademark.
Although the entire logo was not identical to that of the plaintiff’s logo, the components of the letter M and a dot, as well as a similar colour scheme was visible in the new logo, it was added.
The plaintiff thus argued that the defendant had clearly and dishonestly adopted the brand identity of the plaintiff for a business substantially similar to that of the plaintiff.
It was also argued that in addition to the infringement of the trademark, the defendant also sought to pass off his products and services as those of the plaintiff’s.
The Court’s attention was also drawn to a decree dated May 30, 2015, passed by the Additional District Judge – II, Kozhikode in Kerala, between the same parties. The decree had injuncted the defendant from using the trademark “MALABAR FASHION JEWELLERY” along with the logo or any other deceptively similar mark to that of the plaintiff’s registered trademark.
The decree was under appeal but there was no stay by the appellate court, it was stated by the plaintiff.
After hearing the plaintiff, the Court opined that the plaintiff had made out a good prima facie case for the grant of ad-interim relief.
“The balance of convenience is also in favour of such an interim injunction being granted. The plaintiff has established that it will suffer irreparable injury if its intellectual property rights are not protected at this stage.”
Consequently, the Court restrained the defendant from using the “Minsara” logo or the new logo, in the colour combination of gold and purple, or any other mark which was deceptively similar to the plaintiff’s registered trademark, till the next date of hearing.
The Court also passed an order restraining the defendant from passing of its products and services as those of the plaintiff. The defendant was thus restrained from using the phrase “Malabar Group” or describing itself as an initiative/division of “M. Malabar”.
The plaintiff was presented by Senior Advocate Akhil Sibal with Advocates Bishwajit Dubey, Surabhi Khattar, Isha Malik and Shriya Misra.
Read the Order: