Delhi High Court: In a case wherein plaintiff, Sunshine Teahouse Ltd. was the owner of the brand name ‘CHAAYOS’ and defendant, Grey Mantra Solutions had copied several distinctive elements of plaintiff’s packaging, which formed a substantial imitation of plaintiff’s trade dress, Prathiba M. Singh, J., restrained defendant from making any fresh manufacture of their tea products in the impugned trade dress packaging which had copied various distinctive elements and were a colourable imitation of plaintiff’s product packaging and insofar as the already manufactured products were concerned, the details of the inventory shall be placed on record along with the monetary value of the same.
Plaintiff used the brand name ‘CHAAYOS’ in respect of tea and related products and it also runs and maintains tea cafes serving tea, beverages, sandwiches, cakes, pastries, cookies under the name ‘CHAAYOS’. The mark ‘CHAAYOS’ was adopted by plaintiff in 2012 and had a registration for the mark ‘CHAAYOS’ since 2017. Plaintiff had registrations for the mark ‘CHAAYOS’ in classes 43, 16, 29, 30, 32, and 47. Plaintiff also claims to sell goods under its trade dress in other countries i.e., United States, Canada, UAE, and Singapore. Plaintiff operated its website through domain name www.chaayos.com and sold its products through various online websites i.e., www.amazon.in, www.flipkart.com, Bigbasket, Instamart etc.
Defendant, Grey Mantra Solutions was offering various flavours of tea on online platforms and plaintiff claimed that defendant had also been selling its products on Amazon using the brand names i.e., ‘TEACURRY’ and ‘JUST VEDIC’. Plaintiff submitted that defendant had copied several distinctive elements of plaintiff’s packaging, which formed a substantial imitation of plaintiff’s trade dress. The products of defendants were sold under the mark ‘TEACURRY’ and ‘JUST VEDIC’ and the said packaging’s of defendant had imitated the colours, some flavour names and the water mark of the word ‘chaai’. Plaintiff further submitted that the products show that the overall trade dress including the colour combination, the manner of writing the word ‘chai’, or ‘masala’, the writing script, the various creative embellishments on the packaging, the depiction of flower, ellachi, tea, etc. were all almost identical to that of plaintiff. Plaintiff submitted that defendant had also copied the Amazon listing.
Comparison between plaintiff’s and defendant’s product
Defendant Listing (Teacurry)
Defendant Listing (Just Vedic)
Analysis, Law, and Decision
The Court opined that the packaging and listings would show that plaintiff’s packaging was in the form of paper and defendant was using plastic containers, but the resemblance was clearly present on a physical perusal of the products. The Court noted that plaintiff had several trade mark registrations for the mark ‘CHAAYOS’ and label/mark applications for distinctive packaging’s and thus, opined that there had been an imitation by defendant.
The Court opined that “the distinctive elements of the trade dress had been copied by defendant. The copying of the listings and the expressions used in the same also point to the clear malafide intention of defendant who was clearly trying to sail as close to the wind as possible. Listings play a crucial role in online marketing and sales. Copying of listings also indicates that defendant was trying to pass off its products as that of plaintiff, in view of the point-of-sale confusion that becomes clearly possible”.
The Court restrained defendant from making any fresh manufacture of their tea products in the impugned trade dress packaging which had copied various distinctive elements and were a colourable imitation of plaintiff’s product packaging and insofar as the already manufactured products were concerned, the details of the inventory shall be placed on record along with the monetary value of the same.
The Court directed that in view of the listings that had been copied almost identically, the impugned listings shall be taken down and if the same were not taken down by defendant, then plaintiff was free to approach the online platforms with the specific URLs for taking down the said listings.
The matter would next be listed on 29-01-2024.
[Sunshine Teahouse (P) Ltd. v. Grey Mantra Solutions, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 6828, Order dated 19-10-2023]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For the Plaintiff: Ankit Miglani, Shreya Mansi James, Advocates