Observing that an “overwhelming prima facie case” is made out in favour of Patanjali Foods Ltd, the Bombay High Court recently appointed a court receiver and directed immediate seizure of the refined soyabean oil produced by Madhya Pradesh-based company as its trademark is “deceptively similar” to Patanjali's. The court said that a detailed order would be uploaded on its website after the additional special receiver completed the seizures.
Passing an ex-parte order on a suit by Patanjali, Justice Riyaz Chagla observed that SE Oil Products Pvt Ltd’s trademark was identical to Patanjali’s registered trademark 'TULSI' and non-registered trademark 'TULSI GOLD', which the latter has been using since 2006. “I am of the opinion that the similarity between the rival trademarks is not a matter of coincidence,” the judge said.
Patanjali’s Advocates Prathamesh Kamat and Apoorv Srivastava submitted that SE Oil Products Pvt Ltd’s had applied for registration of the trademark ‘TULSI GOLD’ in 2008. However, the same was withdrawn in 2015 after the trademark office raised an objection. A second application was also rejected by the Registrar of Trademarks in March 2016.
“From the documents annexed, it's prima facie evident that both the trademarks of the plaintiff (Patanjali) have gained immense goodwill and reputation,” Justice Chagla said. The court then directed SE Oil Products Pvt Ltd to immediately stop using the trademark ‘TULSI GOLD’ while ordering the receiver to seize all the products bearing the trademark. The judge also permitted the receiver to take assistance from the police to break open the locks of the facilities where such goods are stored.