Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Grandmother of all trademark disputes ends in HC

The term 'aachi' in Tamil means 'grandmother' and hence such a word of common use could not be a monopoly of a particular company, the Madras high court has said, rejecting Aachi Masala Foods' plea to stop a cargo company from using the same name.
Confirming a single judge order dismissing a suit filed by Aaachi Masala group recently, a division bench comprising Justice Satish K Agnihotri and Justice M M Sundresh said: "The word 'aachi' in Tamil means grandmother. Therefore, such a word, which is of general use, cannot be a monopoly of Aachi Masala Foods alone."
In its appeal, Aachi Masala Foods contended that Aachi Cargo Channels Private Limited had obtained exclusive right to use Aachi trademark in 1999 and later got Aachi trademark for 51 other products as well.
Aachi Cargo, however, contested the submissions saying their area of operation had nothing to do with the food business of Aaachi Masala. Noting that there is no likelihood of their name causing confusion in the minds of the public, they said the appeal deserved to be dismissed.
The bench, concurring with Aachi Cargo's submissions,' said the Aachi label reflecting masalas and spices had nothing to do with the service rendered by the cargo operators. Declining to grant an order of interim injunction restraining Aachi Cargo, the judges said the question of infringement of trademark would arise only if an unregistered proprietor used a registered trademark which was likely to cause confusion on the part of the public.
Posted in TOI
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