Mumbai: In a relief for the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), the Bombay High Court on Wednesday temporarily restrained a Mumbai-based association from using the ‘Khadi’ and ‘Charkha’ logo belonging to the Commission.
Justice Manish Pitale issued the restraining order while hearing an application filed by KVIC claiming that one Mumbai Khadi and Village Industries Association was using the registered marks in conjunction with its name. It contended that the association infringed the word mark, label mark and device mark registered in favour of KVIC, which it discovered in Dec 2021.
The court was informed that KVIC had earlier filed a suit against the association, which was withdrawn following the latter giving an undertaking before the HC that it would not sell any Khadi products without a certificate from KVIC. The continued infringement was not only dishonest but also a breach of the undertaking given to the court, KVIC pleaded.
However, the association opposed the plea claiming that KVIC’s claims were based on elaborate certificates of registration for trademark, label mark and device mark but it was all of no consequence. It produced annual reports to show that it was the prior user of the word ‘Khadi’ since they used it from the year 1946.
Justice Pitale noted that the association had approached KVIC for a certificate to sell Khadi products. However, KVIC began receiving complaints that the cloth being sold didn’t contain Khadi material. Hence, it withdrew the certificate. Even after withdrawal of the certificate, the association continued selling products under the name and trademark.
In its order, the court noted that KVIC held registration for its wordmark, label mark and device mark, for a plethora of classes and not limited to cloth or textile products.
“On the face of it, the defendant cannot dispute that the prominent, essential, fundamental and substantial features of the registered trademarks of KVIC are copied in the impugned marks of the defendant. This would ordinarily satisfy the requirement of demonstrating a prima facie case as regards infringement and passing-off,” remarked Justice Pitale.
The judge also said that unless the defendant is restrained from further indulging in such conduct, KVIC will suffer grave and irreparable loss.
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