Decided by the High Court of Delhi on 4th March, 2022.
The Plaintiff, Khadi and Village Industries Commission, established in the year 1956 was a registered proprietor of various words marks and device marks. Its products bore the mark “KHADI” in both English and Hindi as well as in artistic and logo form along with the Charkha Logos. The Plaintiff not only dealt with the products of Khadi but also with various medicinal products and were regulated and promoted by a statutory corporation. The Plaintiff claimed that the Defendant adopted the similar trading style under the name “KHADI BY HERITAGE” and operated a website under the domain name https://khadi-by-heritage.business.site/ and also used the logo of the Charkha. The Defendants’ website stated that they promoted and sold other products along with medical products such as PPE Kits, hand sanitizers and fireballs. The Plaintiff claimed that these deceptive similarities could create tremendous confusion in the minds of the general public, as KHADI was considered to sell reliable products and had enormous respect in terms of its quality. Thus, the Plaintiff contented that Defendants’ acts lead to infringement of its trademark and sought an injunction.
The issue before the Court was whether the Defendants infringed the Plaintiff’s trademark by using the trade name ‘Khadi by Heritage’ and whether the Plaintiff could claim an injunction to restrain of sale and promotion of the same.
The Court referred to the Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act, 1956 and Order VI Rule 17 r/w Order I Rule 10 r/w Section 151 of CPC, through which the Plaintiff had impleaded the Defendant.
The Court agreed to the submissions made by the Counsel for the Plaintiff about the similarities between the logo, name and device name of the Defendants’ trade name, which could cause confusion in the mind of the consumer as well as every citizen who considered the products of ‘Khadi’ to be of supreme quality, especially in the field of medicinal products. The Court, while laying emphasis on the plaint, stated that lately, products bearing the KHADI trademark have extended their reach globally. During the recent pandemic, the Plaintiff introduced various medicinal products along with hand sanitizers under the KHADI trademark which were consumed extensively.
The Court raised concerns regarding the quality check of the Defendants’ products as Plaintiff and its products were considered to be extremely reliable and of general public interest. Thus, marketing and selling products with similar brand name could lead the consumers to believe that the Defendants were associated or sponsored by the Plaintiff, and as the Defendants’ products had not undergone proper quality supervision, such products could adversely impact public health and tarnish the reputation and market name of the Plaintiff. Therefore, the Court stated that using the same corporate name was unlawful on part of the Defendants.
The High Court of Delhi passed an order restraining the Defendants and all their representatives from selling, manufacturing, offering any products including PPE kits, masks, hand sanitizers, fireball or any other product bearing the trademark “Khadi by Heritage” or the Plaintiff’s logo. The Defendants was also restrained from using the trading style of ‘Khadi by Heritage’, the name ‘Khadi by Heritage Pvt. Ltd.’, and the domain name https://khadi-by-heritage.business.site/ for their business.
Citation: Khadi & Village Industries Commission vs Raman Gupta And Others, decided by Delhi High Court on 4th March, 2022, available at: https://indiankanoon.org/doc/91668083/, visited on 22/03/2022.
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