-Report by Khushi Neb
The Delhi High Court in the case of TATA SIA AIRLINES LIMITED versus SHENZHEN COLOUR SPLENDOUR GIFT CO LTD reiterated that
“when a person uses another person’s “well-known trade mark‟, he tries to take advantage of the goodwill such a “well-known trade mark” enjoys. Such an act constitutes as unfair competition. It also causes dilution of a “well-known trade mark‟ as it loses its ability to be unique and distinctively identified and distinguish as one source and there is a consequent change in perception which reduces the market value or selling power of the product bearing the well-known trade mark”.
The plaintiff was incorporated in the year 2013 as a joint venture between TATA Sons Limited and Singapore Airlines Limited, with TATA Sons holding the majority stake of 51% (Fifty-One Percent) in the plaintiff company that operates its full-service airlines for domestic and international destinations. As of the date of filing the suit, the plaintiff has been serving thirty-six destinations with over two hundred flights a day since 09th January 2015 with all the aircraft bearing the ‘VISTARA Marks’ of the plaintiff. The plaintiff has applied for and is the registered proprietor of the ‘VISTARA Marks’ in several classes in India. In July 2020, the plaintiff received information about the sale of keychains and baggage tags
bearing the ‘VISTARA Marks’ in the aubergine and gold color combination, which were being sold on a Chinese e-commerce platform, namely AliExpress, by the seller, which is the defendant in the present suit. It is the case of the plaintiff that despite the e-commerce platform based mostly in China, the website contained several listings by the defendant of infringing baggage tags and keychains bearing the ‘VISTARA Marks’ without the authorization of the plaintiff which was eligible for shipping to India.
CONTENTIONS OF PLAINTIFF
The plaintiff‟s ‘VISTARA Marks’ by the defendant vis-à-vis the sale of baggage tags and keychains are bearing not only the same trademarks but also the same trade dress as that of the plaintiff, which amounts to infringement, passing off, dilution and unfair competition. The wordmark of the plaintiff, that is ‘VISTARA’ was declared to be a “well-known
trade mark” as defined under Section 2(1)(zg) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 by this Court in a decision dated 05th August 2019 in TATA SIA Airlines Limited v. M/s Pilot Aviation Book Store & Anr., CS(COMM) 156 of 2019. The knowledgeable attorney for the plaintiff further argues that there is a high likelihood of confusion due to the public’s adoption of the same marks and the plaintiff’s trade dress, suggesting that the two parties may be connected.
Given that the plaintiff’s “VISTARA Marks” are used for travel-related purposes, the same is an arbitrary adoption, and the defendant’s use of identical marks and trade dress is not justified because the word is not frequently used in
dictionaries. By utilizing similar marks and trade dress, there is a defendant for selling luggage tags and keychains. anxiety about safety and security regarding airports and on the aircraft. The learned counsel for the plaintiff submits that where the defendant, despite having been served with the injunction order, chooses not to contest the suit, the same fortifies that it is indulging in the activities complained of by the plaintiff in the plaint. In support, he places reliance on some judgments.
The court ruling in favor of the plaintiff stated:
“The use of the “VISTARA Marks‟ is not only amounts to infringement and passing off of the mark of the plaintiff but would cause dilution of the mark of the plaintiff. It is also likely to cause deception and confusion in the mind of the unwary consumer. Furthermore, the apprehension of national as also international security concerns at airports by mala fide usage of the baggage tags and keychains being offered for sale by the defendant prima facie appears to be valid in nature.”
It is common knowledge that when a defendant decides not to dispute a lawsuit while being served with an injunction order, this proves that the defendant is engaging in the actions that the plaintiff in the plaint has accused them of. The court ruled that the defendant has no basis for the use of an identical trademark for the sale of their goods given that the plaintiff is the registered proprietor of the “VISTARA Marks” and none has entered an appearance for the defendant.