The Karnataka High Court recently ruled that Ideal Jawa (India) Ltd is the owner of the mark “Yezdi” (word and device), and restrained Boman Irani and Classic Legends Pvt. Ltd. from using the famous motorbike name “Yezdi” as a trademark or domain name, either by itself or in conjunction with other words.
Boman Irani had acquired registration of the Yezdi mark in a few classes in 2014, and also registered the yezdi.com domain name in 1998. The company Classic Legends, which he established, wanted to revive the Yezdi brand in association with Mahindra & Mahindra. However, the company Ideal Jawa India Ltd, which was the original owner of the Yezdi marks had been wound up in 2001 with the appointment of an official liquidator.
An application was filed by both the official liquidator and Ideal Jawa Employees Association against Irani, who had obtained registration of the marks Yezdi while under winding up conditions. The court deemed this action on his part to be in bad faith and akin to misappropriating company assets, thus rendering all trademarks and registration certificates issued in favour of him void. Additionally, Irani and Classic Legends Pvt Ltd were each ordered to pay Rs 10 lakhs to the official liquidator towards costs associated with utilisation and distribution during winding up proceedings, as well as being liable for all claims made from using Jawa trademarks in general.
It was further decided that an appointed chartered accountant would be responsible for determining any benefits accrued to either Irani or Classic Legends Pvt Ltd due to their use of the Jawa trademarks and that any pending applications for registration by either should be closed by respective Registrar offices at Ahmedabad, Mumbai and New Delhi.
This ruling serves as an important reminder that one must exercise caution when dealing with trademarks, particularly during times of liquidation or winding up process of companies.
Case Title: The Official Liquidator of M/s Ideal Jawa (India) Limited (In Liquidation) v. Registrar of Trade Marks & Others.
Case No.: C.A. No. 71/2018
Date of Decision: 16th December, 2022