Delhi High Court: In a suit filed by The Boeing Company (plaintiff) seeking relief of permanent injunction restraining the defendants from infringing the trademarks and copyrights of the plaintiffs, passing off their goods as that of the plaintiffs, and other ancillary reliefs, Amit Bansal, J., passed the decree of injunction in favour of the plaintiffs for Rs. 3,00,000/- towards damages to be paid by the defendants within four weeks.
The Boeing Company, incorporated under the laws of Delaware, USA, is a leading aerospace company and the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners operates its business in India through various subsidiaries and the plaintiff 2. Plaintiff 1 is the third-largest defense contractor in the world and one of the largest exporters in the United States. The annual Indian turnover of the plaintiffs in the year 2021 was Rs. 1171 crores.
Plaintiff 1 owns a wholly dedicated domain name, www.boeing.com, and operates its India-centric website at www.boeing.co.in to cater to the needs of its Indian market and consumers. The trademark ‘Boeing’ has been derived from the name of the founder of the plaintiff 1 company, Mr. William Boeing and the plaintiff’s logo have been used in India since 1997. The trademark ‘Boeing’ has no common parlance in Indian context and is therefore, distinctive of its services and business. The plaintiff is the sole owner and registered proprietor of the trademark/logo worldwide including India.
Defendant 1 is engaged in the business of providing engineering services and solutions in aerospace, defense, automotive, healthcare, and energy. It uses the mark which is impugned in the present suit. The impugned mark is also displayed on its website, at the entrance of the premises of defendant 1 in Bangalore. Pursuant to an investigation conducted by the defendants, it also came to the knowledge of the plaintiffs that defendant 3 is impersonating himself to be an employee of the plaintiffs. This shows that the defendants were aware of the rights of the plaintiffs in the impugned mark and misusing the same.
An ex parte ad interim injunction has already been passed in favour of the plaintiff restraining the defendants from using the impugned trademark/logo in relation to their services including services in the aerospace and defense sector. The present suit seeks a permanent injunction.
The Court noted that since the defendants have failed to enter an appearance or even take any required steps to contest the present suit, despite having suffered an ad interim injunction order, it is evident that they have no defense to put forth on merits.
The Court further noted that the defendants have adopted the trademark/logo in its entirety and have merely added a second swoosh graphic element that does not mitigate the deceptive and confusingly similar appearance of the impugned mark. Further, the defendants have used a blue and black colour combination in the impugned mark. The defendants are using the impugned trademark/logo in relation to services relating to aviation and defense sector, which are identical to that of the plaintiffs.
The Court concluded that the defendants have been using the impugned mark with a view to trade upon the established goodwill and reputation of the plaintiffs. Thus, the defendants are infringing the trademark/logo of the plaintiffs, as also passing off their goods and services as that of the plaintiffs.
Thus, the Court restrained plaintiff 1 from using as its trademark/logo in any manner whatsoever, including in relation to its goods and services or any other trademark/logo deceptively like the trademark/logo of the plaintiffs. Further, a decree of permanent injunction was passed restraining defendant 3 from impersonating an employee of the plaintiffs.
[The Boeing Company v Advance Technologies, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 2253, decided on 18-04-2023]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Sh. Pravin Anand, Sh. Dhruv Anand, Ms. Udita Patro and Ms. Nimrat Singh, Advocates for the Plaintiff;