Justice Jayant Nath, however, ordered Mr. Goswami and ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd, which owns Republic TV, to maintain accounts if they choose to use the tagline as a trade mark with respect to any of their goods or services. The High Court also restrained Republic TV and Mr. Goswami from using the trade mark ‘ NEWS HOUR’ or any other mark which is deceptively similar to it, on a suit filed by media outlet Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd, which owns the channel Times Now.
Bennett Coleman in his argument contended that it has been using the tagline “nation wants to know” since 2006 for goods and services in relation to television broadcast. It has acquired goodwill and reputation due to the time effort, financial and human resources expanded by the company. It was stated that it can be ascertained as to whether Bennett Coleman was using the tagline as a trade mark or it was merely being used as a form of speech in the course of conducting the news channel.
“In these facts and circumstances, prima facie it is not possible , at this stage without it is not possible, at this stage without leading of evidence, to come to a conclusion that the defendants seek to mislead the consumers of the news channel or that the action of the defendants in using the said tagline would cause damage to the plaintiff as claimed. A plea strongly urged by the defendants is that the tagline in question was used as a common speech for which there is no intellectual property which ensures to the plaintiff.
Mr Goswami, who was earlier associated with Times Now and resigned in 2016, launched his channel ‘Republic TV’ and later filed trade mark applications for registration of the mark ‘Nation Wants to know’, ‘Arnab Goswami Newshour’ and “Goswami Newshour Sunday’ claiming proprietary rights.
The trademark “News Hour” was registered by the Times Group under Classes 16, 35 and 38 in 2014 and the mark itself has been in use since 2006. Therefore, the plaintiff Group claimed statutory right over this trademark. The court also stated that whether or not the tagline was used as a trademark is an aspect that needs to be delved into in detail. Thus, in a partial relief, the Court granted an interim injunction in favour of Times Group, refraining Republic Network from using “News Hour” or anything similar to it with no interim relief being granted with respect to “nation wants to know”. Thus court held that the Republic TV’s editor –in-chief Arnab Goswami was free to use the tagline “nation wants to know” as aprt of his speech or presentation of any news channel.