Mumbai: Observing that the term ISKCON never existed prior to it being coined by the trust -- International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), the Bombay High Court recently held the expression deserves the highest level of protection. The HC accordingly barred an apparels firm from using the term ISKCON.

A bench of Justice Burgess Colabawalla said, "It is clear that ISKCON is a coined trade mark and it did not exist prior to the trust's adoption and use of the same. Since it is a coined trade mark which is associated exclusively with the trust, it undoubtedly deserves the highest degree of protection."

"Prima facie, there is no manner of doubt that the defendant firm impugned trading name is identical and/or in any event deceptively similar to ISKCON," Justice Colabawalla held.

The bench was hearing a plea filed by ISKCON seeking injunction against the apparels firm, which though changed its name to Alcis Sports Pvt Ltd. mentioned on its website that it was "formerly known as Iskcon Apparel Pvt. Ltd."

"This amounts to infringement of the trust's trademarks and passing off considering the registrations secured and reputation acquired by the trust in the said ISKCON marks," held Justice Colabawalla.

The court added, "In my view, the adoption of the impugned trading name containing the mark ISKCON is deliberate with a view to trade upon the enviable reputation and goodwill acquired by the trust. In any event, if the defendants have changed the name, no prejudice would be caused to its business if they are injuncted from using the term ISKCON."

Notably, ISKCON was found in 1966 by Acharya Bhaktivedanta Saami Prabhupada, who started Krishna Consciousness Movement in the name and style of ISKCON in New York, United States of America.

Within a short span of time, the movement spread all over the world and gained immense popularity. Presently, there are more than 600 ISKCON temples of which nearly 180 are in India, 65 eco-farm communities, 110 vegetarian restaurants all over the world including in India which preaches the teachings and principles of Lord Krishna through Bhagavad Gita.

Interestingly, if any community desires of having a temple or a center run by ISKCON within their vicinity, they have to first donate that part of the land (over which the said temple or center is to be constructed) to the trust and thereafter it constructs the temple or orfere service under the trademark of ISKCON.

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