Delhi High Court: In a case where suit was filed for permanent injunction restraining RPG Developers (P) Ltd. from infringing the trade mark and copyright of RPG Enterprises Ltd., a Single Judge Bench Amit Bansal, J. granted permanent injunction to RPG Enterprises Ltd. and restrained RPG Developers (P) Ltd. from offering/rendering any services using the impugned trade mark ‘RPG’ and/or ‘RPG DEVELOPERS’. Additionally, the Court awarded Rs. 3 lakhs as damages to the plaintiff.
The plaintiff was an Indian industrial conglomerate comprising of over twenty companies in infrastructure, tyres, technology, and specialty and had been using the ‘RPG’ word mark since 1979. The plaintiff was the proprietor of the registered trade mark ‘RPG’ in Classes 5, 9, 12, 16 and 30 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 (Act).
The plaintiff’s ‘RPG’ marks had acquired the status of well-known trade marks within the meaning of Section 2(1)(zg) of the Act which was recognized in RPG Enterprises Limited v. Riju Ghoshal, 2022 SCC OnLine Bom 626. The plaintiff was also the registered copyright owner of the ‘RPG Enterprises’ Logo (Label) in India and had been using the same since 1987. The ‘RPG Enterprises’ label was granted registration in 1988. The plaintiff also owned the domain names www.rpggroup.com and www.rpg.in.
The defendant was a company engaged in the selling and renting of properties in various parts of India. In 2017, the plaintiff found that the defendants had adopted the ‘RPG’ mark and were deliberately using the trade name ‘M/s RPG Developers’ with an intent to misrepresent to the public that the defendants were associated with the plaintiff as an associate/joint venture/group company.
The plaintiff issued notices to the defendants calling upon the defendants to stop selling/offering for sale their projects under the mark ‘RPG’ and to take an undertaking to the effect that they would not infringe the marks of the plaintiff in the future. But no reply was received from the defendants. Therefore, the plaintiff filed the present suit to restrain the defendants from carrying on their infringing activities.
Analysis, Law, and Decision
The Court in RPG Enterprises Ltd. v. RPG Developers (P) Ltd. granted an ex parte ad interim injunction in favour of the plaintiff and restrained the defendants from using the mark ‘RPG’. The Court compared the competing marks of the plaintiff and of the defendants and opined that the defendants’ use of the ‘RPG’ mark was nothing but an attempt to ride on the goodwill and reputation of the plaintiff’s well-known trademarks. This was further evidenced from the prominent use of the marks ‘RPG’ on the defendants’ website www.rpgdevelopers.in.
The Court opined that this was a fit case for granting relief of permanent injunction and therefore, the Court held that the defendants were restrained from offering/rendering any services using the impugned trade mark ‘RPG’ and/or ‘RPG Developers’ and/or artistic work which was a colourable imitation of the plaintiff’s artistic work or any other trade mark/artistic work deceptively similar to the ‘RPG’ marks of the plaintiff.
The Court, after considering the dishonest conduct of the defendants, awarded Rs. 3 lakhs as damages to the plaintiff, which was to be paid by the defendants within eight weeks, failing which the plaintiff was permitted to commence execution proceedings against the defendants.
[RPG Enterprises Ltd. v. RPG Developers (P) Ltd., 2022 SCC OnLine Del 4623, decided on 21-12-2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case:
For the Plaintiff: Advocate Himanshu Deora;
Advocate Sejal Tayal;
Advocate Naqeeb Nawab.