Delhi High Court restrains ‘Baap Ki Adalat’ for infringing Rajat Sharma’s popular show ‘Aap Ki Adalat’ marks

Aap Ki Adalat

Delhi High Court: An application was filed by Independent News Service Private Limited (plaintiff), a company incorporated in 1997, and its Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, Shri Rajat Sharma, seeking permanent injunction restraining defendants and all those acting for and, on their behalf from using the mark/logo or ‘Baap Ki Adalat’ or any other trademark/logo deceptively like the trademark/logo of the plaintiff ‘Aap Ki Adalat‘. Anish Dayal, J., restrained the defendants from using/dealing in any manner with the impugned trademark/logo and ‘Baap ki Adalat or any other trademark/logo deceptively similar to the trademark/logo of the plaintiff ‘Aap Ki Adalat‘, either as trademark/trade mark/logo/trading style, domain name, social media posts, audio video content, or in relation to any services so as to result in violation of statutory and common law rights of plaintiff 1.

The plaintiffs known for its 24-hour Hindi news channel “INDIA TV,” received permission from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, to uplink the channel in 2002. The plaintiffs are the registered proprietors of several trademarks, including “INDIA TV” and “AAP KI ADALAT,” a well-known television program featuring interviews with prominent personalities, which has gained immense popularity over the years.

The plaintiffs filed the present application under Order XXXIX Rules 1 and 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) as part of a suit seeking a permanent injunction. The grievance arose against defendant 1, a self-proclaimed political satirist, who had been creating and publishing various video and audio content on social media platforms operated by defendant 2 to 4. The plaintiffs alleged that defendant 1 was using the mark/logo “Baap Ki Adalat,” which was deceptively similar to their trademark/logo “AAP KI ADALAT.” The plaintiffs claimed that the manner of usage by defendant no. 1 was identical to their own, thereby causing confusion among the public and infringing on their registered trademarks.

The plaintiffs argued that their trademarks “INDIA TV” and “AAP KI ADALAT” had gained significant goodwill and reputation. They presented a comparative analysis showing the similarity between the plaintiffs’ marks and the impugned marks used by the defendants. The plaintiffs highlighted the successful prosecution of their trademarks in previous cases, where the courts had recognized their rights and granted injunctions against infringing parties.

The Court, upon examining the submissions and evidence presented, observed that the plaintiffs had established a prima facie case for the grant of an ex parte ad interim injunction. The court noted that the balance of convenience favored the plaintiffs, and they were likely to suffer irreparable harm if the injunction was not granted. The court acknowledged the significant reputation and goodwill associated with the plaintiffs’ trademarks and recognized the potential for confusion and deception among the public due to the defendants’ use of a deceptively similar mark.

Thus, the court granted the following interim reliefs in favor of the plaintiffs:

a) Defendant 1 and all those acting on its behalf were restrained from using the impugned trademark/logo “Baap Ki Adalat” or any other trademark/logo deceptively similar to “AAP KI ADALAT” in any manner, including social media posts, audio-video content, or in relation to any services.

b) Defendant no. 1 and all those acting on its behalf were restrained from using the photograph, video, and name of plaintiff 2 in any manner that violated the personality rights of plaintiff 2.

c) Defendant 2 to 4 were directed to remove the impugned content, including social media posts/links of defendant 1 containing the impugned trademark/logo “Baap Ki Adalat” or any other deceptively similar trademark/logo.

The court ordered that notice be issued to the defendants through all permissible modes, including speed post, courier, and email, with an affidavit of service to be placed on record before the next date of hearing. The defendants were given six weeks to file a reply, with an advance copy to be provided to the plaintiffs’ counsel, who could file a rejoinder if desired.

The Court scheduled the next hearing for 18-10-2024 and directed compliance with Order XXXIX Rule 3 of CPC within one week.

[Independent News Service Private Limited v Ravindra Kumar Chaudhary, CS(COMM) 498/2024, decided on 30-05-2024]

Advocates who appeared in this case:

Mr. Rajiv Nayyar, Sr. Adv. with Mr. Sudeep Chatterjee, Mr. Kunal vats, Ms. Tanya Arora, Mr. Jaydeep Roy and Mr. Sanyam Suri, Advocates for plaintiff

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