Delhi High Court: In a case wherein there was alleged design piracy and trade mark infringement and passing off, by defendants, of the Svachh line of pressure cookers manufactured by plaintiff under the name “PRESTIGE”, C. Hari Shankar, J.*, restrained defendants and all others acting on their behalf from manufacturing, selling, offering for sale, exporting, advertising or in any other manner directly or indirectly dealing in pressure cookers bearing the impugned design or any other design which infringed the suit design. The Court further restrained defendants from using the trade dress for its mark, which was almost identical to the trade dress used by plaintiff for its mark.
Defendants sold the pressure cookers under the name “PARISTONE” and counsel for plaintiff submitted that the two marks “PRESTIGE” and “PARISTONE” were visually identical, with defendants having adopted a trade dress which was a clear imitative copy of plaintiff’s trade dress used for its “PRESTIGE” mark. It was also submitted that the arrangement of various features on the outer packing of defendants’ product was also identical to the arrangement of features on the packing of plaintiff’s product and thus, a clear case of passing off, by defendants, of its product as that of plaintiff, by adopting a trade dress, for its mark, which was deceptively similar to that of plaintiff’s mark, was made out.
Analysis, Law, and Decision
The Court opined that the trade dress adopted by defendants was almost identical to the and trade dress of plaintiff, with identically printed white letters in a similar font on an identical pink background and a black swirl/line below it. There were, clearly, between the two, no such distinguishing features, barring the name itself, as would impress itself on the mind of a consumer of average intelligence and, more importantly, imperfect recollection, so as to enable him to distinguish the former from the latter, when seen at different points of time.
The Court agreed with plaintiff’s contention that even on the outer cartons, the manner in which the mark had been affixed on the pressure cookers was also identical and that, therefore, a consumer of average intelligence and imperfect recollection, who might recollect the visual impression of the mark, was likely to confuse one with the other. The Court opined that as defendants had clearly copied the trade dress of plaintiff insofar the visual appearance on its mark was concerned, a case of passing off was made out.
The Court also opined that once defendants had chosen to copy the manner in which plaintiff had visualised its mark and the manner in which the mark was affixed on the pressure cooker, as well as the design of the pressure cooker itself, it could hardly lie in the mouth of defendants to question the goodwill and reputation of plaintiff and that defendants had chosen to imitate the manner in which plaintiff printed its logo was itself testimony to the goodwill and reputation of plaintiff, in the perception of defendant itself.
The Court opined that a prima facie case of passing off, by defendants, of plaintiff’s product, by using a design which was nearly identical, a trade dress for the mark which was almost identical and overall appearance of the pressure cooker, including the manner in which the said mark was affixed on the body thereof, which was also deceptively similar, therefore, existed. Thus, plaintiff would be entitled to an interlocutory injunction, both on the grounds of design infringement as well as passing off, by defendants, of its product as that of plaintiff.
The Court thus, restrained defendants as well as all others acting on their behalf from manufacturing, selling, offering for sale, exporting, advertising or in any other manner directly or indirectly dealing in pressure cookers bearing the impugned design or any other design which infringed the suit design. The Court further restrained defendants from using the trade dress for its mark, which was almost identical to the trade dress used by plaintiff for its mark. The Court also held that defendants would not, however, be restrained, for the present, from using the mark PARISTONE in any other trade dress, which was not similar to the trade dress of plaintiff’s mark, on pressure cookers which did not imitate or infringe the registered design of plaintiff’s Svachh range of pressure cookers.
[TTK Prestige Ltd. v. Arjun Ram, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 6929, decided on 19-10-2023]
*Judgment authored by: Justice C. Hari Shankar
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For the Plaintiff: Hemant Singh, Mamta Rani Jha, Manish Kumar Mishra, Akansha Singh, Saloni Kaslimal, Tarushi Agrawal, Pragya Jain, Advocates