Delhi High Court: In a case filed by CROSSFIT gym (‘Plaintiff’) having CROSSFIT trademarks seeking permanent injunction against defendant gym using the identical mark, Prathiba Singh, J. granted permanent injunction against defendants and imposed a cost of Rs 10 lakhs to be paid to the plaintiff within three months. The Court also issued contempt notice against the proprietor of the defendants to show cause why contempt must not be initiated against him and his company, as they continued using the CROSSFIT mark under challenge, in blatant violation of interim injunction being granted.
The Plaintiff claims to be the proprietor of the registered trademark ‘CROSSFIT’ used in respect of services in the health, fitness and nutrition sector, providing services for strength training, fitness programs in addition to conducting fitness seminars and providing trainer certifications. The Plaintiff coined and adopted the mark ‘CROSSFIT’ in the year 1995 and has been continuously and extensively using the said mark in respect of its products and services. The Plaintiff also registered the domain name ‘www.crossfit.com’ in October, 1999.
The grievance of the Plaintiff is that the Defendant is a gym and fitness center owned and operated by its proprietor Mr. Arun Sharma and is using the identical mark ‘CROSSFIT’ in respect of identical services relating to gym and fitness. The case of the Plaintiff is that the Defendant has been prominently displaying the mark ‘CROSSFIT’ at its premises, literature, online pages as well as on various online directories and social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Justdial, Fitternity etc.
A legal notice dated 29-09-2020 and notice regarding pre litigation mediation was issued to which no reply was received. No reply has been received for emails, telephonic calls or summons by Court. However, on the date of listing of the matter, an ex parte ad-interim injunction was granted on 29-10-2021 which was made absolute on 15-02-2022.
Placing reliance on Disney Enterprises Inc. v. Balraj Muttneja, 2014 SCC OnLine Del 781, wherein the Court held “where the defendant is ex parte and the material before the Court is sufficient to allow the claim of the plaintiff, the time of the Court should not be wasted in directing ex parte evidence to be recorded and which mostly is nothing but a repetition of the contents of the plaint.”
Thus, the Court decreed the suit and granted permanent and mandatory injunction in favour of the Plaintiff as they were able to make out a prima facie case.
The Court on further coming to knowledge of the fact, that defendant is not complying with the interim order and continuing to use the mark ‘CROSSFIT’ despite the injunction granted, without choosing to defend the plaintiff’s claim or reply to the notices issued. Thus, the Court awarded Rs. 10,00,000 in favour of the Plaintiff due to brazen violation of the orders of the Court by the defendant.
The Court noted that the conduct of the Defendant in the present case prima facie amounts to contempt. The Court issued contempt notice to the defendant’s proprietor Mr. Arun Sharma to show case as to why contempt action ought not to be initiated.
The Court directed the plaintiff to approach the concerned social media platforms for taking down of the infringing listing and posts of the Defendant, using the mark ‘CROSSFIT’, which shall be taken down, within 48 hours.
The Court further appointed Ms. Meghna Jandu, Advocate as the Local Commissioner, subject to the mandate listed by the Court, to visit the premises of the Defendant to ensure compliance of the orders of the Court by removing any hoardings and any other billboards, signage, display material, brochures, packaging, and literature bearing the mark ‘CROSSFIT’.
[CROSS FIT LLC v RTB GYM and Fitness Center, 2022 SCC OnLine Del 2788, decided on 06-09-2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Mr. Saif Khan and Mr. Shobhit Agrawal, Advocates, for the plaintiff;
None for the defendant.
*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.