Delhi High Court

Delhi High Court: A suit was filed by Fab India (plaintiff) seeking permanent injunction restraining defendants, and all those acting for and, on their behalf, from manufacturing, selling, retailing, advertising, dealing with products under the mark ‘FABINDIA’ or any other mark which is deceptively similar to the plaintiff’s mark and other attendant relief. Anish Dayal, J., held that the plaintiff has made out a prima facie case for grant of an ex-parte ad interim injunction and balance of convenience lies in favour of plaintiff, and they are likely to suffer irreparable harm in case the injunction, as prayed for, is not granted.

The plaintiff, an Indian retail company, specializes in producing and selling a wide range of handcrafted goods under the trademark ‘FABINDIA.’ Incorporated in 1960, the company has established a significant presence in India, operating numerous retail outlets across major cities and an extensive online platform. The plaintiff claims to have secured more than 100 registrations for its trademarks, and its financial records indicate substantial turnover, with Rs. 95 crores in online sales and Rs. 1185.74 crores in offline sales for the fiscal year 2022-2023. These sales span various product categories, including apparel, home and lifestyle products, accessories, personal care items, and food and beverages.

The dispute arose when the plaintiff discovered in January 2024 that the defendants were operating retail stores in Delhi under the name ‘FAB INDIA EMPORIUM.’ The defendants were allegedly selling products using a name deceptively similar to ‘FABINDIA,’ thereby causing potential confusion among consumers. This discovery prompted the plaintiff to file a suit seeking a decree of permanent injunction to restrain the defendants from using the mark ‘FABINDIA’ or any other deceptively similar mark. The plaintiff provided evidence, including invoices issued by the defendants, to demonstrate that the defendants were not only using similar tradename but also conducting sales under it.

The plaintiff argued that the use of the mark ‘FAB INDIA EMPORIUM’ by the defendants infringed upon their well-established trademark ‘FABINDIA,’ which had garnered significant goodwill and reputation over decades. The plaintiff contended that such use was likely to cause confusion and deception among consumers, leading to irreparable harm to their business. They emphasized the extensive use and registration of their trademarks across various categories and sought immediate relief in the form of an ex-parte ad interim injunction. The defendants, although not explicitly detailed in the order, were implied to have been operating their business with a GST registration, which the court noted in its order.

The Court noted the long-standing use and reputation of the ‘FABINDIA’ mark and acknowledged the potential for consumer confusion due to the defendants’ use of a similar tradename. The Court was convinced that the plaintiff had established a prima facie case for the grant of an ex-parte ad interim injunction. The balance of convenience favored the plaintiff, and the court recognized that the plaintiff would suffer irreparable harm if the injunction were not granted.

The Court, satisfied with the plaintiff’s arguments and evidence, granted the following reliefs:

  1. The defendants and all those acting on their behalf were restrained from using the word ‘FABINDIA’ for their store, as part of their tradename, or for any other products or services. The injunction order was set to come into effect three months from the date of the order to allow the defendants time to change their tradename and brand under which they were selling their products.

  2. The defendants were ordered to disclose their annual sales since the commencement of their operations, certified by a Chartered Accountant. They were also required to disclose the date of commencement of their operations via an affidavit to be filed within four weeks, with copies provided to the plaintiff’s counsel.

[Fab India v. Fab India Emporium, CS(COMM) 394/2024, decided on 15-05-2024]

Advocates who appeared in this case:

Mr. Viraj Datar, Sr. Adv. with Mr. Dipankar Vig, Mr. Pranay Sarkar, Mr. Kunal Juneja, Ms. Ujjwala Gupta, Mr. Abhinav S., Mr. Jahangir Ahmad and Mr. Saurav Joon, Advocates for plaintiff

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