No more ‘Social’izing for Social chai

The Delhi High Court has issued an ex-parte ad-interim injunction against a restaurant/café operating under the name of Social Chai. The Plaintiff is engaged in providing restaurant services under the trademark “SOCIAL”, which was adopted in 2012. Since its adoption, the Plaintiff has secured several registrations for the trademark “SOCIAL” and their derivative marks across various classes and obtained copyright in the artistic work, “SOCIAL”. In the plaint, the Plaintiff submitted detailed evidence of the extensive use of the mark “SOCIAL” for 50 of its restaurants/bars operating pan India and its range of merchandise, including it’s online presence and sales turnover.

The facts of the case is that, the Plaintiff discovered that the Defendant was operating a restaurant/café under the impugned trademarks, “SOCIAL CHAI” /

Logo mark of social Chai ” in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh and its online presence on social networking platforms as well as third-party websites. Apprised of the Defendant’s trademark application in Class 43, the Plaintiff issued a cease-and-desist notice dated 19th May, 2022 demanding immediate cessation of use of the mark “SOCIAL CHAI”/ “Logo mark of social Chai ” and to withdraw the application filed before the registry. Upon issuing a follow-up notice, the Defendant agreed to withdraw the application and discontinue the use of the impugned trademarks via the communication dated 14th January, 2023. However, later in February 2024, the Plaintiff discovered that the Defendant inaugurated a second outlet in Keshavpuram, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, under the name “SOCIAL CHAI”, thereby passing off the Defendant’s services as that of the Plaintiff’s as well as infringing the Plaintiff’s registered trademark.

Aggrieved by the Defendant’s use of the trademark “SOCIAL CHAI”, the Plaintiff approached the Court to immediately restrain the Defendant from infringing the Plaintiff’s registered trademark.

The Court held that the addition of the suffix “CHAI” to “SOCIAL” is insufficient to effectively differentiate the Defendant’s mark from that of the Plaintiff’s, especially due to the identical domain of restaurant services. In view of the significant risk of misleading consumers, and creating association with the Plaintiff’s mark, the Court granted an ex-parte ad-interim injunction along with directions. The Defendant was restrained from marketing, advertising and/or offering its services under the impugned trademarks and was also directed to remove all references of the impugned trademarks from all third-party websites.

The court has provided the defendant four weeks to submit any replies and two weeks to file any rejoinders it may want to. The matter has been listed to be heard again on 23rd August 2024.

Citation: Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality Pvt. Ltd v. M/S. Social Chai Through Its Proprietor [CS(Comm) 258/2024]

Authored by Benita Alphonsa Basil, Trademark Team, BananaIP Counsels.

Reviewed and confirmed by Ms. Swathi Muthukumar, Trademark Team, BananaIP Counsels


The case note/s in this blog post have been written by IP Attorneys at BananaIP Counsels based on their review and understanding of the Judgments. It may be noted that other IP attorneys and experts in the field may have different opinions about the cases or arrive at different conclusions therefrom. It is advisable to read the Judgments before making any decisions based on the case notes.

If you have any questions, or if you wish to speak with an IP expert/attorney, please reach us at: [email protected] or 91-80-26860414/24/34.