Use of mark “NOVYA” for selling ‘Ghee’ amounts to passing off and infringement of the mark “NOVA”

The Plaintiff, Sterling Agro Industries Limited, has been selling ‘Desi ghee and other dairy products’ under their mark “NOVA” since 1992 and had duly registered their trademarks including the variants of the mark “NOVA” in class 29. The Plaintiff filed a suit seeking permanent injunction against the Defendant to restrain them from using the mark “NOVYA” to sell ‘Ghee and other dairy products’ along with the Defendant’s deceptively similar packaging. In response, the Defendant ASR Trading Company denied all claims of the Plaintiff and relied on their trademark application for their mark “NOVYA” in class 29 to assert that the mark “NOVYA” was being used for goods other than just ‘Ghee’.

After reviewing the facts, the Court observed that the mark “NOVYA” is similar to the Plaintiff’s mark “NOVA” and that the packaging of the Defendant’s products is also deceptively similar to the Plaintiff’s product packaging. The Court further noted that the Defendant had abandoned the trademark application filed for the mark “NOVYA” under class 29. Additionally, the Court stated that the intentional adoption of the deceptively similar mark “NOVYA” by the Defendant for selling ‘Ghee’ and its inability to produce substantial evidence of not using the mark as well as similar packaging to sell ‘Ghee’ amounts to bad faith.

Therefore, the Court held that the use of the mark “NOVYA” for selling products like ‘Ghee and other dairy products’ amounts to passing off and infringement of the Plaintiff’s registered trademark “NOVA”. While passing a permanent injunction against the Defendant, the Court also imposed a penalty of INR 5,00,000/- on the Defendant for contempt.

Citation: Sterling Agro Industries Limited vs M/s ASR Trading Company & Ors., Delhi High Court, 7 February, 2024, CS(COMM) 148/2019, I.A. 4158/2019

Drafted by Ms. Swathi Muthukumar, Trademark & Copyright Team, BananaIP Counsels
Reviewed and confirmed by Ms. Ilana Baruah, Consulting & Strategy Team, BananaIP Counsels

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