posted 4 Mar 2011, 00:54 by advocatemmmohan Mandagaddi murali mohan

 Appellant's   deliberate   misrepresentation   has 

      the   potentiality   of   creating   serious   confusion 

      and   deception   for   the   public   at   large   and   the 

      consumers   have   to   be   saved   from   such 

      fraudulent   and   deceitful   conduct   of   the 


h)    Permitting   the   appellant   to   sell   his   product 

      with the mark `Eenadu' would be encroaching 

      on   the   reputation   and   goodwill   of   the 

      respondent company and this would constitute 

      invasion   of   proprietary   rights   vested   with   the 

      respondent company.


        i)          Honesty and fair play ought to be the basis of 

                    the policies in the world of trade and business.

         The law is consistent that no one can be permitted 

to encroach upon the reputation and goodwill of other parties. 

This   approach   is   in   consonance   with   protecting   proprietary 

right        Consequently, the appeals are disposed of in terms 

of the aforesaid observations and directions.  




                CIVIL APPEAL NOS.6314-15 OF 2001

T.V. Venugopal                  `                         ... Appellant


Ushodaya Enterprises Ltd. & Another                       ... Respondents

                             J U D G M E N T 

Dalveer Bhandari, J.

1.    These   appeals   are   directed   against   the   judgment 

delivered by a Division Bench of High Court of Andhra Pradesh 

in Letter Patent Appeal Nos. 12 and 13 of 2001 on 15.06.2001.

2.    Brief   facts   which   have   been   given   by   the   appellant   are 

recapitulated as under.

3.    The appellant is the sole proprietor of a firm carrying on 

business inter alia as manufacturers of and dealers in incense 


sticks   (agarbathis)   in   the   name   and   style   of   Ashika   Incense 

Incorporated at Bangalore.

4.    The appellant started his business in the year 1988 and 

adopted   the   mark   `Ashika's   Eenadu'.     According   to   the 

appellant the word `Eenadu' in Kannada language means `this 

land'.   In Malayalam and Tamil language it conveys the same 

meaning.  In Telugu language it means `today'.  

5.    In   consonance   with   the   above   meaning   the   appellant 

devised   an   artistic   label   comprising   a   rectangular   carton   in 

bottle   green   background   with   sky-blue   border   and   in   the 

centre, in an oval  tricolour, the word `Eenadu' is written.

6.    According to the appellant, in the year 1993 he honestly 

and bona fidely adopted the trade mark `Eenadu' meaning `this 

land' in Kannada.  In the said label the other expressions used 

are `Ashika's original' and the firm's logo printed in red against 

yellow background.  The other panel of the carton contains the 

same   description   in   Telugu  besides  the   name   and   address   of 

the  appellant.     The  panel  on  one   side  of  the   carton  mentions 


the   name,   address,   contents   and   another   side   contains 

`Eenadu' in Devnagari, Tamil and Malayalam.

7.    The appellant applied for registration of trade mark on or 

about   10.02.1994   of   the   said   label   bearing   application   No. 

619177.  The appellant made an application to the Registrar of 

the Trade Marks for a certificate under proviso to Section 45(1) 

of the Copyright Act, 1957.   The Registrar issued a certificate 

on   7.3.1996.     Thereafter,   an   application   for   registration   for 

copyright was made by the appellant on 14.3.1997.

8.    The   appellant's   product,   incense   sticks   (agarbathies) 

were well received in the market and according to him, when 

he filed the appeal before this Court, his annual business was 

about rupees eleven crores per annum.

9.    The   respondent   company,   who   was   engaged   in   the 

business   of   publishing   a   newspaper   in   Telugu   entitled   as 

`Eenadu',   served   a   cease   and   desist   notice   on   the   appellant 

which   was   replied   by   the   appellant   on   8.3.1995.     The 

respondent   company   in   the   year   1999   filed   a   suit   for 

infringement   of   copyrights   and   passing-off   trade   mark   in   the 


Court   of   Second   Additional   Chief   Judge,   City   Civil   Court, 

Hyderabad.   The   respondent   company   therein   claimed   that 

they   have   been   in   the   business   of   publishing   a   newspaper, 

broadcasting, financing and developing a film city.  

10.    It   was   contended   by   the   respondent   company   that   the 

use   of   the   word   `Eenadu'   by   the   appellant   amounted   to 

infringement of their copyright and passing-off in trade mark. 

According   to   the   respondent   company,   the   business   of   the 

appellant and the respondent company was different and there 

is   no   commonality   or   casual   connection   between   the   two 


11.    The   appellant   states   that   the   word   `Eenadu'   is   a   well 

known   and   well   understood   word   appearing   in   all   the   South 

Indian   languages.     It   means   `today'   in   Telugu.     In   Tamil, 

Malayalam   and   Kannada   it   means   `this   land'.     Therefore,   no 

absolute   monopoly   could   either   be   claimed   or   vest   in   any 

single   proprietor   in   respect   of   the   entire   spectrum   of   goods 

and/or   services   and   there   have   been   other   traders   and 

manufacturers   who   have   been   using   the   word   `Eenadu'   to 


distinguish   their   merchandise   from   similar   merchandise   of 


12.    The   appellant   also   asserted   that   in   Hyderabad   one   co-

operative   bank   exists   in   the   name   of   `Eenadu   Cooperative 

Bank   Ltd.'   and   their   services   are   advertised   as   `Eenadu 

Deposits',   a   shop   also   exists   in   Vijayawada   by   the   name 

`Eenadu  Men's  Wear'  and  a  film  titled  `Eenadu' in Malayalam 

and Telugu was produced some time over a decade back.  The 

appellant contended that detergent powder, playing cards, hair 

oil, coffee  powder, tea powder, papad etc. are being sold with 

the mark `Eenadu'.

13.    The   Second   Additional   Chief   Judge,   City   Civil   Court, 

Hyderabad on 24.11.1999 had granted an ex-parte ad interim 

injunction restraining the appellant from using the expression 

`Eenadu'   and   the   same   was   confirmed   on   27.12.1999. 

Thereafter,   the   appellant,   aggrieved  by   the   said   order,   moved 

the   High   Court   of   Andhra   Pradesh   at   Hyderabad.     The   High 

Court   suspended   the   interim   injunction.     The   High   Court 

permitted   the   appellant   to   dispose   off   their   finished   products 


to   the   tune   of  Rs.1  crore   and   also  permitted   the   appellant   to 

produce goods that were in the process of manufacture to the 

tune of Rs. 78 lakhs.  

14.    Meanwhile, the trial court on 24.7.2000 partially decreed 

the   suit   of   the   respondent   company.     The   appellant   was   not 

injuncted from using the words `Eenadu' in the entire country 

other than in the State of Andhra Pradesh. 

15.    The   appellant,   aggrieved   by   the   order   of   the   City   Civil 

Judge   filed   an   appeal   before   the   High   Court   of   Andhra 

Pradesh.     The   respondent   company   also   filed   an   appeal 

against the order of City Civil Judge praying that the order of 

injunction   to   be   made   absolute   and   not   be   confined   to   the 

State of Andhra Pradesh.   The learned Single Judge disposed 

of   both   the   appeals   by   a   common   judgment/order   dated 

29.12.2000.  The appeal filed by the respondent company was 

dismissed and the appeal filed by the appellant was allowed. 

16.    Aggrieved by  the said order of the learned  Single Judge, 

the   respondent   company   filed   Letters   Patent   Appeals   before 


the   Division   Bench   of   the   High   Court.     The   High   Court   vide 

impugned order allowed its appeals, decreeing the O.S. No.555 

of 1999.

17.    The  appellant  also   aggrieved   by   the   impugned  judgment 

filed   appeals   and   submitted   that   the   courts   below   were   not 

justified in granting relief which was not specifically prayed for 

in   the   plaint.     The   appellant   further   submitted   that   the   High 

Court   erred   in   holding   that   the   copyrights   of   the   respondent 

company   were   infringed   in   the   absence   of   a   prayer   for 

infringement   of   copyrights.       According   to   the   appellant   the 

Division   Bench   of   the   High   Court   erred   in   holding   that   they 

were passing-off the copyrights when the Copyright Act, 1957 

does not provide for such a remedy.  

18.    The appellant also submitted that the courts below have 

not properly appreciated the distinction between the existence 

of a copyright and its infringement.

19.    According   to   the   appellants,   the   respondent   company 

was aware of the appellant's business since at least 27.2.1995 


and   there   has   been   a   gross   delay   in   filing   of   the   suit   and 

because   of   inordinate   delay   in   approaching   the   court,   the 

respondent company is not entitled to any relief.  

20.    The   appellant   further   submitted   that   whether   an   action 

for   passing-off   could   be   maintained   and   injunction   granted 

when a mark is used consisting of the word `Eenadu', which is 

a common word.  The word `Eenadu'  literally means `Today' in 

Telugu   and   `this   land/our   land'   in   Kannada,   Tamil   and 


21.    The   appellant   contended   that   the   businesses   of   the 

appellant   and   the   respondent   company   are   entirely   different 

and   there   is   no   question   of   passing-off   of   the   goods   of   the 

appellant as that of the respondent company.

22.    The respondent company denied all the averments of the 

appellant and submitted the following propositions.

       1.    The essence of an action of passing-off is an attack 

             on   or   dilution   or   benefitting   from   the   goodwill   and 

             reputation of another person.


2.     If such goodwill or reputation arises out of the use 

       of a name in respect of a particular product and the 

       goodwill   and   reputation   is   restricted   only   to   such 

       product   and   unknown   outside   such   product   then 

       the   use   of   such   name   by   another   person   with 

       respect   to   a   totally   different   product   would   not 

       affect   the   goodwill   and   reputation   so   as   to 

       constitute an action of passing-off

3.     If,   however,   the   goodwill   and   reputation   is 

       sufficiently   wide   and   the   name   is   associated   with 

       the   source   in   a   more   general   way   rather   than 

       restricted   only   to   a   given   product   then   the   use   of 

       such   name   by   another   trader   for   even   a   totally 

       different product could amount to a passing-off.

4.     The exception to the three above propositions would 

       be   if   such   name   is   a  generic   name   for   the   product 

       being   manufactured   by   the   rival   trader   in   which 

       case it would never constitute an action of passing-



       5.    Again, if the said name is descriptive of the product 

             of the rival trader, it would then amount to passing-

             off   only   if   it   is   established   that   it   has   become   a 

             household   name   of   such   a   nature   as   to   have 

             acquired   a   strong   secondary   meaning   and   it   being 

             associated   substantially   with   the   first   trader,   in 

             which case alone it would amount to a passing-off. 

             The   standard   of   proof   of   such   a   case   would   be 

             higher   than   the   standard   of   proof   of   first   three 


23.    Mr.   Mukul   Rohtagi,   learned   senior   counsel   and   Mrs. 

Prathiba   Singh,   learned   counsel   arguing   on   behalf   of   the 

appellant   submitted   that   in   the   instant   case   the   suit   was   in 

fact   governed   by   Trade   &   Merchandise   Marks   Act,   1958   and 

not by the Trade Marks Act, 1999 which came into force w.e.f. 

15.9.2003.     It  was   submitted   that  this   case   is   covered   under 

section 159(4) of the 1999 Act, which specifically provides that 

any   legal   proceedings   pending   in   any   court   at   the 


commencement of this Act would be governed by the old Act. 

Section 159(4) of the 1999 Act is reproduced as under:-

       "159.   (4)     Subject   to   the   provisions   of   section 

             100   and   notwithstanding   anything 

             contained   in   any   other   provision   of   this 

             Act,  any  legal  proceeding  pending  in  any 

             Court   at   the   commencement   of   this   Act 

             may be continued in that court as if this 

             Act had not been passed."

Thus, none of the concepts of well-known marks, dilution etc. 

as   statutorily   applicable   under   the   1999   Act,   have   any 

application in this case. It is submitted that the present case, 

as decided by all the courts below, is a case of passing off and 

not of dilution.

24.    In   reply   to   the   submission   of   the   respondent   company, 

learned   counsel   for   the   appellant   submitted   that   the   passing 

off test  is the test of likelihood  of confusion.   Such confusion 

should be either confusion arising due to get  up of products, 

confusion as to sponsorship/affiliation of source or confusion 

arising   out   of   the   use   of   identical/deceptively   similar 



25.    Learned   counsel   for   the   appellant   also   submitted   that 

dilution   is   a   completely   different   concept,   namely,   if   there   is 

confusion, there is no dilution.   The concept of dilution steps 

in   when   in   fact   the   consumer   is   not   being   confused   but   the 

plaintiff's   mark   is   being   diluted   in   some   form   or   the   other. 

McCarthy,   a   well-known   author   on   Trademarks   and   Unfair 

Competition   clearly   states   the   same   in   the   said   publication. 

Reliance   is   being   placed   at   para   24.70   wherein   it   has   been 

observed that "the dilution doctrine is concerned with granting 

protection   to   trademarks   beyond  that  provided   by   the   classic 

`likelihood of confusion' tests."

26.    According   to   the   appellant,   the   principle   of   dilution 

requires that the consumer in fact should not be confused but 

a   well-known   mark,   in   the   absence   of   confusion,   is   being 

diluted.   In the United States of America, dilution is protected 

by a specific statute called the Federal Anti Dilution Act, 1996. 

The   discussion   on   dilution   in   McCarthy   establishes   the 



       a) The   traditional   likelihood   of   confusion   test   applies   to 

             passing off.

       b) If a mark is a well-known mark, then the argument of 

             dilution   is   to   be   considered   in   the   absence   of 


       c) Dilution is a doctrine which should be strictly applied.

       d) Standard of distinctiveness required to protect a mark 

             from dilution is very high.

       e) Not   every   trade   mark   can   be   protected   against 


       f)    If   a   mark   enjoys   a   regional   reputation   it   does   not 

             deserve protection under the law of dilution.

       g) A   reputation   on   a   national   scale,   especially   while 

             testing the mark for unrelated goods, is required to be 

             protected under dilution.

27.    Learned   counsel   for   the   appellant   submitted   that   under 

the traditional law of passing off or under the law of dilution, 

the   only   marks   which   have   been   protected   across   product 

category   are   marks   which   can   easily   be   termed   even   in   the 


common parlance as well-known marks. Such marks such as 

Bata, Volvo, Benz, Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata etc.

28.    It was submitted that the case pleaded by the respondent 

company (plaintiff) is one of confusion and passing off and not 

of   dilution.     The   standard   for   establishing   dilution   are 

completely different.  There is neither a pleading in the present 

case alleging dilution, nor any evidence in support of dilution. 

The   standards   for   recognizing   dilution   have   not   been 

confirmed by any court of law in India and while deciding the 

present case in the courts below the threshold of dilution was 

never applied.   

29.    In India, the law on dilution has developed through case 

law   going   back   to   the   Benz's   case   decided   by   the   Delhi   High 

Court   in  Daimler   Benz   Aktiegesellschaft   and   another  v. 

Hybo   Hindustan    AIR   1994   DELHI   239.     However,   `Eenadu' 

cannot   claim   the   distinctiveness   or   the   reputation   which   is 

enjoyed   by   a   mark   like   Benz   or   Harrods.   `Eenadu'   is   a   very 

ordinary word commonly used in Telugu language and to vest 

a monopoly in favour of the respondent company (plaintiff) for 


such a common word on the ground of dilution would result in 

conferring  an   undue   monopoly   to  a  generic/descriptive  word. 

There   are   several   marks   which   are   used   in   the   ordinary 

language for different types of products, such as :-

       1.    Time/Times            Time   Magazine,   Time   Education, 

                                   Times   London,   Times   of   India, 

                                   Navbharat Times, Hindustan Times, 

                                   Times Now

       2.    Today                 India Today, Punjab Today, Today's 

                                   Tea, Today's Contraceptive

       3.    Marvel                Marvel Comics, Marvel Detergent

       4.    Sun,          Surya,  Oil, Lights & Bulbs, Tobacco


       5.    Metro                 Metro   Shoes,   Delhi   Metro,   Metro 

                                   Walk Malls

       6.    Maruti                Oil, Cars

       7.    Taj                   Hotels (Taj Hotels), Tea (Wah! Taj)

       8.    Citi                  Citi Bank, City Mall

       9.    Mustang               Motel, Cars, Trailers

30.    The   learned   counsel   for   the   appellant   submitted   that 

`Eenadu'   is   a   common   word   used   in   Telugu   language.   This   has 

been fully established by the evidence on record.

31.    He  referred to  the  deposition   of Jagannadharao,  PW1,  Law 

Officer of the plaintiff, who has stated that the literal meaning of 

the word `Eenadu' is `Today'.


32.    According   to   the   deposition   of   PW2,   N.   Swami,   Artist,   the 

meaning of the word `Eenadu' is `Today'.

33.    Learned   counsel   for   the   appellant   referred   to   deposition 

of   PW5,   R.   Kumaraswamy,   Advocate   who   has   stated   that 

literal meaning of the word `Eenadu' is `Today'.

34.    The   learned   counsel   referred   to   the   deposition   of   PW6, 

T.V. Venugopal, the appellant herein.   He has stated that the 

word `Eenadu'  was specifically  given  for the purpose  of  `daily' 


35.    The learned counsel for the appellant submitted that the 

word `Eenadu' literally means "Today" or "This Day" and hence 

is not an invented word but is a generic/descriptive word used 

in   common   parlance.     This  is   further   proved   by   the   fact  that 

the word `Eenadu' has been used by several parties for various 

products which include :-

       -    `Eenadu'   Turmeric   powder   -   even   the   script   is   the 


       -    `Eenadu' Cooperative Bank

       -    `Eenadu' Match Sticks - even the script is the same


-    `Eenadu' Playing Cards

-    `Eenadu' Ayurvedic Bath Soaps

-    `Eenadu' Dresses

-    `Eenadu' Chilly Powder - even the script is the same

-    `Eenadu' Washing Powder

-    `Eenadu' Coffee - even the script is the same

-    `Eenadu'  Telugu Feature Film

-    `Eenadu' Tobacco - same script

-    `Eenadu'  Hotel

-    `Eenadu'  Marble Estate

-    `Eenadu'   Feature   Film   (The   said   film   by   UTV 

     Production uses the word `Eenadu' in the same script 

     as used by the respondent - (This particular film has, 

     in fact, been featured for a  review in the respondent's 

     own newspaper dated 15.8.09 & 27.8.09 and copies of 

     the same are attached.   The music launch of this film 

     was also featured in the newspaper of the respondents 

     dt.   14.9.09.   This   film   has   at   least   2   songs   with   the 

     word   `Eenadu'.     One   of   the   songs   in   the   film   called 

     "Eenadu   Eesamaram"   which   means   "This   Day,   This 


-    A famous Kannada song - Eenadu Kannada, Eeneeru 

     Kannada   (This   day   is   Kannada,   This   water   is 



36.    The appellant submitted that it is clear that `Eenadu' is a 

term   which   is   used   in   the   ordinary   Telugu   language   and   in 

Kannada   and   the   same   is   acknowledged   by   the   respondent 

company   itself   as   is   evident   from   the   wide   publicity   given   to 

the film in the respondent company's newspaper.

37.    The  appellant further submitted  that the evidence  relied 

upon   by   the   respondent   company   in   order   to   allege   that 

`Eenadu' is a reputed and distinctive mark, is a compilation of 

documents handed over before this court during the course of 

arguments   on   23.3.10.   In   order   to   show   that   `Eenadu'   is   a 

household   name,   an   extract   from   Wikipedia   printed   on 

13.4.09 was submitted by the respondent company before this 

court.  In fact, all the other internet print-outs annexed by the 

respondent   company   are   based   on   Wikipedia   itself.     It   is   the 

submission   of   the   appellant   that   it   is   now   an   established 

position,   internationally   in   law   that   Wikipedia   does   not   have 

any evidentiary value in the court proceedings.  The same has 

been held by the US Court of Federal Claims in  Taylor Mary  

Campbell  v.  Secretary   of   Health   and   Human   Services  69 


Fed.   Cl.   775   (2006)   and   by   the   US   Court   of   Appeals   in 

Lamilem Badasa v. Michael B. Mukasey    540 F.3d 909. As 

against the Wikipedia evidence, the actual evidence on record 

reveals the following:-

      a)    `Eenadu'   has   a   specific   meaning   in   Telugu   language 

            and   also   has   a   meaning   in   Kannada   language   and 

            possibly even in Malayalam;

      b) `Eenadu' has been used by several parties in the same 

            script   without   any   objection   whatsoever   from   the 

            respondent company (barring 2 ex-parte injunctions).

      c)    `Eenadu' means "Today" or "This Day".

      d) The   respondent   company   itself   has   acquiesced   to   3rd 

            party   usage   of   the   mark   (including   `Eenadu'   feature 

            film by UTV).

      e)    The respondent company's submission that this court 

            ought   to   ignore   the   concrete   documentary   evidence 

            and testimony and instead rely upon extracts from the 

            Wikipedia to prove that `Eenadu' is a household name, 

            is not liable to be entertained.


38.    Thus,  `Eenadu'   does   not enjoy  the   distinctiveness  which 

the   respondent   company   claim   and   in   any   event   such 

distinctiveness   does  not  span   across   all   classes   of  goods  and 


39.    The   respondent   company   has   argued   before   this   court 

that  the descriptive nature of the mark has to be determined 

with   respect   to   the   appellant's   goods.     This   approach 

according   to   the   appellant   is   completely   erroneous.     While 

determining   the   nature   of   the   mark   -   for   the   purpose   of 

registration or for the purpose of passing-off/infringement, the 

first inquiry which the court ought to carry out is to determine 

whether   the   applicant's/plaintiff's   mark   is   invented, 

arbitrary/suggestive, descriptive or generic.  The nature of the 

mark   is   always   determined   with   respect   to   the 

plaintiff's/applicant's goods.   For example, if a person applies 

for   a   trademark   called   "Extra   Strong",   the   Registrar   of   trade 

mark   has   to   examine   whether   the   mark   is   descriptive   or 

laudatory   for   the   goods   for   which   it   is   applied,   i.e.,   the 

applicant's goods.  The inquiry does not depend on the person 


opposing   the   use   of   the   said   mark.   Thus,   to   hold   that   the 

nature of the mark has to be determined by the nature of the 

appellant's goods is stating the proposition in the reverse.

40.    In   the   present   case,   the   plaintiff/respondent   company 

was conscious that `Eenadu' is a descriptive mark and it is for 

this   reason   that   in   the   plaint,   the   plaintiff   (respondent) 

company   has   pleaded   a   secondary   meaning   with   respect   to 

their   mark   `Eenadu'.     If   the   plaintiff's   case   is   based   on 

`Eenadu'   being   a   distinctive   mark,   a   suggestive   mark   and   a 

well   known   mark,   then   there   is   no   question   of   pleading 

secondary   meaning   to   its   mark.     It   is   only   with   respect   to 

descriptive marks that secondary meaning needs to be pleaded 

and considered by this court.

41.    The   argument   of   the   respondent   company   is   that 

`Eenadu' is not a generic or descriptive mark but a suggestive 

mark.     The   difference   between   categorization   as   generic, 

descriptive or suggestive is a follows:-

       *     A generic mark can never be a trademark


   *      A   descriptive   mark   can   become   a   trademark   if   it 

          acquires secondary meaning

   *      A suggestive mark is inherently distinctive

42.     The   line   between   suggestive   marks   and   descriptive 

marks   is   very   thin.     Various   commentaries   including 

McCarthy have laid down the imagination test to determine 

as   to   whether   a   mark   is   descriptive   or   suggestive.     When 

this test is applied to the mark `Eenadu' for a newspaper, it 

is clear that the same is descriptive in nature inasmuch as 

it   means   `Today',   i.e.   news   for   today.     It     does   not   require 

any imagination at all.   Thus in the imagination test, if the 

mark describes a characteristic of the product - in the case 

of `Eenadu' the newspaper, it refers to the characteristic of 

the newspaper, i.e., today's news.  `Eenadu' would therefore, 

be an expression which immediately describes a newspaper. 

In fact with respect to its Agarbathies, `Eenadu' would be a 

completely   arbitrary   term.     However,   with   respect   to 

newspapers, this is a descriptive term. 


43.    The   appellant   submitted   that   the   entire   object   of 

including   the   4th  Schedule   in   the   Trademark   Rules   is   that 

marks are to be registered for the goods and services for the 

purpose for which they are used.  Non-use of a mark entails 

rectification   under   section   46   of   the   1958   Act.     Thus,   the 

entire   object   of   trademarks   is   to   confer   monopoly   of   a 

particular  individual  or  entity  with respect to a mark for  a 

particular   category   of   goods   or   category   of   services.     It   is 

only in exceptional cases that a mark is protected across all 

product categories.  If that was not the position, then every 

trademark   owner   whose   mark   enjoys   a   reputation   in 

whatever limited field and for specific goods/services, would 

be  able to  claim  monopoly  for  the mark with  respect to  all 

42   classes   of   goods   and   services.     This   could   never   have 

been   the   intention   of   the   Legislature.               Even   while 

establishing   the   criteria   for   the   marks   which   are   well-

known,   the   legislature   has   thought   it   fit   to   deal   with   the 

reputation   of   such   well-known   marks   by   taking   into 

consideration   factors   like   section   of   the   public,   relevant 

geographical   area   etc.     Thus,   every   trade   mark   is   not 


entitled   to   protection   across   all   categories   as   every   trade 

mark does not automatically become a "well-known mark". 

If this was not the case, then there would come a time when 

most   words   would   get   monopolized   across   products   and 

services   which   would   not   conform   to   the   intention   behind 

the Law of Trade Marks.

44.    Every mark with a reputation cannot be determined as 

a well-known mark as reputation by itself does not escalate 

the   mark   into   the   position   of   a   well-known   mark.   The 

reputation   of   a   mark   can   be   restricted   to   a   particular 

territory,  to a particular  category  of goods or services,  to a 

particular   category   of   population,   to   a   particular   linguistic 

section of public etc.

45.    The   appellant   submitted   that   in   most   of   the   cases 

where   absolute   protection   has   been   granted,   extending   it 

beyond   the   goods   and   services   in   which   the   plaintiff   deals 

with,   the   mark   or   name   has   been   an   extremely   distinctive 

mark.   They have either invented the mark or marks which 

are   derived   from   surnames   or   marks   are   used   across 


categories   of   products.     The   defendant's   products   may   be 

confused   from   the   other   products   originating   from   the 

plaintiff, but the plaintiff has to be dealing with more than 

one   products   or   services   with   respect   to   the   said 


46.     In   the   present   case,   the   evidence   on   record   has 

established that the plaintiff/respondent company has only 

dealt   with   mark   `Eenadu'   for   newspapers.   The   television 

channel   is   known   as   ETV   where   the   word   `Eenadu'   is   not 

used for the same.  The evidence itself establishes the same. 

Further it is pertinent to note that:

   7       There   is   not   a   single   document   showing   that   the 

           respondent   company   is   referred   to   as   `Eenadu' 

           Margdarshi's goods;

   7       Priya   is   also   a   mark   of   pickles   which   is 

           manufactured by the respondent company;

   7       `Eenadu'   pickles   (if   any)   are   not   available   in   the 

           local market;


       7     ETV   is   the   shortcut   name   for   the   `Eenadu' 


       7     The   respondent   company   does   not   manufacture 

             incense sticks;

       7     That   `Eenadu'   has   been   used   to   convey   the   literal 

             meaning as "Today".

47.    The   appellant   submitted   that   in   the   background   of   this 

evidence   emanating   from   the   plaintiff's   main   witness,   it   is 

evident that `Eenadu' is not a distinctive mark.   It is in fact a 

descriptive mark.  At best, a secondary meaning may accrue in 

its favour with respect to only newspapers and nothing more. 

Descriptive words which have been used only for one category 

of goods cannot claim across the board protection.  `Eenadu' is 

not like Volvo or Kirloskar or Harrods or Benz.  

48.    `Eenadu'   would   fall   in   the   category   of   marks   like   Shell, 

Safeguard,   Flexgrip,   Imperial,   Skyline   and   Financial   Times, 

Heat Piller, One Day Drycleaners, Instea, Kesh Nikhar, Whipp 

Toppings.   All   these   words   have   not   been   granted   protection 

across the board.


49.    The   respondent   company   has   argued   before   this   court 

that the appellant's adoption is dishonest in view of the similar 

scripts being used by the defendant.  The script being used by 

the   appellant   is   a  standard   block   script   in   the   Telugu 

language.   The   perusal   of   all   the   third   party   use   of   the   mark 

`Eenadu'   would  reveal  that  almost   every  party   uses  the   same 

script.    Thus,  there is  no dishonesty in  adoption  of  the  same 

as the script is commonly used in Telugu language.   Even the 

feature   film   which   has   been   released   in   2009   has   used   the 

same   script.     There   is   no   dishonesty   in   the   adoption   of   the 

mark   `Eenadu'   or   the   script   `Eenadu'.     The   appellant   went 

through   the   process   of   applying   for   a   Search   as   prescribed 

under   the   Copyright   Act.     The   appellant   obtained   a   No-

Objection in  accordance with Section 45 of  the Copyright  Act 

and Rule 24(3) of the Trade Mark Rules, 1959.

50.    The   mark   `Eenadu'   meaning   DAILY   or   TODAY,   the 

appellant   genuinely   adopted   the   same   to   signify   Daily   use   of 

Agarbathi,   which   is   in   fact   used   on   a   daily   basis   by   persons 


performing   puja.     Thus,   the   appellant   does   have   a   valid   and 

acceptable  explanation for  the  adoption.     It is  submitted that 

for the appellant's goods, it is an arbitrary mark.

51.    The   appellant   submitted   that   in   order   to   establish   the 

appellant's   bona   fides,   the   appellant   is   ready   and   willing   to 

change the  script  and to prefix the word "Ashika"  in  order  to 

distinguish itself from the respondent company and to ensure 

that there is no confusion as to source.

52.    The   appellant   submitted   that   as   long   as   the   product   is 

distinguishable  from the product of the respondent company, 

the   appellant   prays   that   the   injunction   ought   to   be   modified 

and   the   appellant   ought   to  be  permitting  to   adopt  the   carton 

which it has proposed to use before this court.   It is incorrect 

that   the   trade   made   application   for   registration   of   the   trade 

mark   was   subsequent   to   the   issuance   of   the   notice.     The 

appellant   submitted   that   the   respondent   company   has   not 

been able to establish bona fide conduct.   This is established 

from the following facts:-


       a.    According   to   the   appellant,   the   mark   `Eenadu'   has 

             been permitted by the respondent company to be in 

             common   use   because   the   respondent   company   did 

             not   take   action   against   all   those   who   had   been 

             using the mark `Eenadu'. 

       b.    According to the respondent company, the appellant 

             stopped   using   the   mark   after   caution   notice   was 

             sent to the appellant in 1995 and then commenced 

             using it in 1999.   In 1995 the respondent company 

             gave a notice restricting the grievance to Copyright. 

             The grievance was restricted to a Disclaimer.   After 

             1995   when   the   sales   of   the   appellant   began   to 

             increase   from   sales   of   two   crores   to   the   sales   of 

             approximately ten crores, then the suit was filed by 

             the   respondent   company   on   a   false   plea   in   the 

             plaint and obtained an ex-parte injunction.

53.    The   appellant   submitted   that   the   case   law   is   clear   that 

confusion   as   to   source   applies   only   when   the   source   is   not 

clearly stated.  The appellant in the impugned carton has used 


the   word   Agarbathi   along   with   the   word   `Eenadu'.     However, 

Ashika's   Eenadu   completely   distinguishes   itself   from   the 

respondent company.   A carton being proposed to be adopted 

by the appellant which would completely eliminate any remote 

chance of any confusion.

54.    Mr.   R.A.   Sundaram,   learned   Senior   Advocate   argued   on 

behalf   of   the   respondent   company.     He   submitted   that 

`Eenadu' is not a common Telugu word meaning "Today" and 

is   not   a   common   word.     He   submitted   that   `Eenadu'   has 

acquired secondary meaning and referred to and relied on the 

trial   court   findings   in   that   respect.     He   submitted   that   the 

appellant   failed   to   note   that   `Eenadu'   Group   is   inter   alia   a 

publisher of a newspaper which is the second largest regional 

daily circulating in India and is the largest in Andhra Pradesh.

55.    Mr.   Sundaram   submitted   that   the   appellant   is   a 

Bangalore   based   company   which   started   manufacturing   its 

products   in   Bangalore   under   the   name   "Ashika"   and   had 

started  selling   its   products   in   Andhra   Pradesh   in   1995.     The 

appellant started using the name `Eenadu' for its Agarbathies 


and used same artistic script, font and method of writing the 

name cannot be a co-incidence.  The appellant is a Karnataka 

company   after   adoption   of   the   name   `Eenadu'   accounted   for 

90%   of   the   sale   of   their   product   Agarbathies.     The   appellant 

was   restrained   from   using   the   word   `Eenadu'   in   the   State   of 

Andhra   Pradesh,   their   sales   have   dropped   by   10   times 

although   they   continued   to   sell   the   product   under   the   name 

"Ashika".     The   appellant   glossed   over   the   fact   of   being 

manufacturer of Agarbathies as is inexplicable as to why they 

had   applied   for   registration   of   name   `Eenadu'   not   just   for 

Agarbathies   but   inasmuch   as   34   classes   of   the   Trade   Marks 

Act for goods which they do not even produce or do not have 

any intention to produce which would itself show the intention 

that   they   can   trade   on   the   respondent   company's   household 

name   and   goodwill   and   reputation.     According   to   the 

respondent   company,   all   these   facts   clearly   show   that 

adoption of name `Eenadu' was by no means innocent but was 

intended   to   capitalize   and   derive   benefit   on   the   goodwill   and 

reputation of the respondent company which is impressible.


56.    Mr.   Sundaram  submitted   the   basic   underlying   fallacy   is 

that since after all the readers of a newspaper are literate and, 

therefore, would be able to make out that the Agarbathies are 

by the name "Ashika Eenadu" or that it comes from a different 

source,   overlooks   completely   that   it   is   the   purchaser   of   the 

Agarbathies   and  not  the  purchaser  of  newspaper   that we  are 

concerned   with.     The   goodwill   sought   to   be   cashed   in   is   the 

name   `Eenadu"   by   the   appellant   who   is   selling   Agarbathies 

and   the   person   so   deceived   is   not   the   purchaser   of   the 

newspaper but the purchaser of the Agarbathies.   To say that 

all the purchasers of Agarbathies are illiterate people is a basic 

fallacy   since   the   purchasers   of  Agarbathies   will   transcend   all 

classes   of   people   in   the   society.     The   entire   submission, 

therefore,   overlooks   the   basic   fact   that   the   purchaser   of   the 

Agarbathies   would   be   deceived   into   believing   that   the   said 

Agarbathies also come from the House of `Eenadu' and thereby 

they   would   be   deceived   as   to   the   source   of   the   product,   and 

this   cashing   in   on   the   goodwill   and   reputation   of   the 

respondent company is impressible in law.


57.    The   respondent   company's   reply   to   the   appellant's 

contention that `Eenadu' is not a household name since it only 

deals with newspaper is complete fallacy because the group is 

known   as   "Eenadu   Margadarshi   Group"   and   the   meaning   of 

`Eenadu' in various publications is stated to be the respondent 

company's   group.     Furthermore,   it   also   overlooked   that   in 

actual   fact   there   are   various   products   which   are   also   being 

produced   and   sold   by   the   respondent   company   under   the 

business name of `Eenadu'.  It is also relevant to mention that 

the   `Eenadu'   TV   Channel   (also   known   as   ETV)   is   one   of   the 

most popular channels and, therefore, the word `Eenadu' has 

come   to   be   completely   associated   with   the   respondent 

company   group   and   in   fact   is   a   household   name.     He   has 

referred to the findings of the Trial Court, the High Court and 

that   of   the   learned   Single   Judge   and   submitted   that   such 

findings   are   not   unreasonable   so   as   to   require   interference 

under section 136 of the Constitution.

58.    Mr.   Sundaram   submitted   that   `Eenadu'   is   not   a   generic 

name, but in fact would be a `fancy' name outside the State of 


Andhra Pradesh and within the State of Andhra Pradesh it is a 

name which is not in common use, and therefore, would be a 

`fancy'   name.     In   any   event,   `Eenadu'   is   not   generic   in   the 

Trade  Mark's  sense  of  the   word  since  it  is   not the   use  of  the 

product name itself.  What is meant by generic for Trade Mark 

law   is   that   when   you   call   a   cake   a   cake   or   a   shoe   a   shoe. 

When  a shoe is called  a cake or  a cake is called a shoe,  it  is 

neither descriptive nor generic.   On the contrary, it is `fancy'. 

The   name   `Eenadu',   therefore,   for   any   of   the   products   of   the 

respondent company would not be a generic name at all.  The 

appellant   overlooks   that   his   complaint   as   to   name   being 

generic can only arise qua product using generic or descriptive 

name.     It   is   nobody's   case   that   `Eenadu'   is   descriptive   of 


59.    All   the   cases,   i.e.,   Newseek,   Ovenchips,   MaltedMilk, 

Shredded   Wheat   etc.   were   cases   where   the   appellant   wanted 

exclusivity of the name which was descriptive of their product 

and   the   respondent   company   who   was     manufacturing   a 

similar product objected to the exclusivity on the ground that 


the name was descriptive   of  the  product in  question.    In  this 

case,   for   the   application   of   the   judgments   the   following   must 


       -     are the appellant and the respondent company dealing 

             in the name product?  This is not so.

       -     is   the   word   `Eenadu'   descriptive   of   the   respondent 

       company's product (i.e. Agarbathies)?  This is no so.

60.    Mr. Sundaram while dealing with the scope of passing off 

action   submitted   that   the   law   of   passing   off   can   be 

summarized   in   one   short   general   proposition   -   no   man   may 

pass   off   his   goods   as   those   of   another.     More   specifically,   it 

may be expressed in terms of the elements which the appellant 

in such an action has to prove in order to succeed.  These are 

there in number.

       a)      He must establish a goodwill or reputation attached 

               to   the   goods   or   services   which   he   supplies   in   the 

               mind   of   the   purchasing   public   by   association   with 

               the identifying `get-up' (whether it consists simply of 

               a   brand   name   or   a   trade   description,   or   the 


      individual   features   of   labeling   or   packaging)   under 

      which his particular goods or services are offered to 

      the public, such that the get-up is recognized by the 

      public   as   distinctive   specifically   to   the   appellant's 

      goods or services.

b)      He   must   demonstrate   a   misrepresentation   by   the 

      respondent   company   to   the   public   (whether   or   not 

      intentional)   leading   or   likely   to   lead   the   public   to 

      belief   that  the  goods  or services  offered by  him are 

      the   goods   or   services   of   the   appellant   and   the 

      source   of   such   goods   or   services   is   the   appellant 

      even if the appellant does not make such products.

c)    He   must   demonstrate   that   he   suffers   or,   in   a   quia 

      timet   action,   that   he   is   likely   to   suffer   damage   by 

      reason   of   the   erroneous   belief   engendered   by   the 

      respondent   company's   misrepresentation   that   the 

      source   of   the   respondent   company's   goods   or 

      service is the same as the source of those offered by 

      the appellant.


       d)    Alternatively,   the   appellant   must   show   that   the 

             description   or   confusion   in   the   public   is   that   the 

             source   of   the   respondent   company's   product   that 

             they are buying is the appellant.

61.    Learned counsel placed reliance on the following passage 

from   a   well-known   case  Reddaway   &   Co.  and   Another  v. 

Banham   &   Co.   and   Another  1895-99   All   ER   133     which 

reads as under:-

              "The name "Glenfield" had become associated 

              with the starch manufactured by the plaintiff, 

              and   the   defendant,   although   he   established 

              his   manufactory   at   Glenfield,   was   restrained 

              from   using   that   word   in   connection   with   his 

              goods in such a way as to deceive. Where the 

              name   of   a   place   precedes   the   name   of   an 

              article sold, it primb facie means that this is 

              its   place   of   production   or   manufacture.   It   is 

              descriptive, as it strikes me, in just the same 

              sense   as   "camel   hair"   is   descriptive   of   the 

              material   of   which   the   plaintiff's   belting   is 

              made.   Lord   Westbury   pointed   out   that   the 

              term   "Glenfield"   had   acquired   in   the   trade   a 

              secondary   signification   different   from   its 


              primary   one,   that   in   connection   with   the 

              word   starch   it   had   come   to   mean   starch 

              which was the manufacture of the plaintiff. In 

              Massam v. Thorley's Cattle Food Co.       just 

              referred to, James L.J. said:

                         "The   defendant   was   actually 

                         manufacturing                      starch                       at 

                         Glenfield,   having   gone   thither 

                         for the purpose of enabling him 

                         to         say         that              he               was 

                         manufacturing   it   at   Glenfield. 

                         The   House   of   Lords   said   the 

                         mere   fact   that   he   was   really 

                         carrying on his manufacture at 

                         Glenfield,             and               was                   not 

                         therefore   telling   a   lie,   did   not 

                         exempt            him                   from                   the 

                         consequence   of   the   fact   that 

                         his   proceedings   were   intended 

                         and   calculated   to   produce   on 

                         the mind of the purchasers the 

                         belief   that   his   article   was   the 

                         article of the plaintiffs."

62.    The House of Lords was justified in observing that fallacy 

lies in overlooking the fact that a word may acquire in a trade 

a   secondary   signification   differing   from   its   primary   one,   and 

that if it is used to persons in the trade who will understand it, 

and be known and intended to understand it in its secondary 


sense, it will  none the less be a falsehood that in its primary 

sense   it   may   be   true.   A   man   who   uses   language   which   will 

convey to persons reading or hearing it a particular idea which 

is   false,   and   who   knows   and   intends   this   to   be   the   case,   is 

surely not to be absolved from a charge of falsehood because 

in   another   sense   which   will   not   be   conveyed   and   is   not 

intended to be conveyed it is true. In the present case the jury 

have found that there was ample evidence to justify it, that the 

words   "camel   hair"   had   in   the   trade   acquired   a   secondary 

signification   in   connection   with   belting,   that   they   did   not 

convey to persons dealing in belting the idea that it was made 

of   camel's   hair,   but   that   it   was   belting   manufactured   by   the 

plaintiffs. They have found that the effect of using the words in 

the manner in which they were used by the defendants would 

be to lead purchasers to believe that they were obtaining goods 

manufactured by the plaintiffs, and thus both to deceive them 

and   to   injure   the   plaintiffs.   On   authority   as   well   as   on 

principle, the court granted relief to the plaintiffs.


63.    Mr.   Sundaram  also   placed  reliance   on  Reckitt   &  Colman  

Products Ltd. v. Borden Inc. and others - 1990 (1) ALL ER 873 

where the court has dealt with general law applicable to passing 

off of action.  In that case the court observed thus:-

            "The   basic   underlying   principle   of     such     an 

            action     was     stated     in   1842     by     Lord 

            Langdale   M.R.   in   Perry   v.   Truefitt   (1842)   6 

            Beav.   66   ,   73   to   be:   "A   man   is   not   to   sell  his 

            own   goods   under   the   pretence   that   they   are 

            the goods of another man......".  Accordingly,  a 

            misrepresentation   achieving   such   a   result   is 

            actionable   because   it   constitutes   an   invasion 

            of   proprietary   rights   vested   in   the   plaintiff. 

            However, it is a prerequisite of any successful 

            passing   off   action   that   the   plaintiff's   goods 

            have acquired  a reputation  in the market and 

            are known by some distinguishing feature. It is 

            also   a   prerequisite   that   the   misrepresentation 

            has deceived or is likely to deceive and that the 

            plaintiff   is   likely   to   suffer   damage   by   such 

            deception. Mere confusion which does not lead 

            to a sale is not sufficient. Thus, if a customer 

            asks   for   a   tin   of   black   shoe   polish   without 

            specifying any brand and is offered the product 

            of A which he mistakenly believes to be that of 

            B, he may  be confused  as  to what he  has got 

            but   he   has   not   been   deceived   into   getting   it. 

            Misrepresentation   has   played   no   part   in   his 



64.    He also relied on the judgment of this court in Ruston &  

Hornsby Ltd. v. The Zamindara Engineering Co. - 1969 (2) 

SCC 727  wherein the court observed as under:-

       "The distinction between an infringement action and 

       a   passing   off   action   is   important.   Apart   from   the 

       question as to the nature of trade mark the issue in 

       an   infringement   action   is   quite   different   from   the 

       issue in a passing off action. In a passing off action 

       the issue is as follows :

              "Is the defendant selling goods so marked 

              as   to   be   designed   or   calculated   to   lead 

              purchasers   to   believe   that   they   are   the 

              plaintiff's goods?"

       But   in   an   infringement   action   the   issue   is   as 


              "Is   the   defendant   using   a   mark   which   is 

              the   same   as   or   which   is   a   colourable 

              imitation of the plaintiff's registered trade 

              mark ?"

65.    He   also   relied   on  Laxmikant   V.   Patel  v.  Chetanbhai  

Shah and Another   - 2002 (3) SCC 65.   This court observed 

as under:-

              "A   person   may   sell   his   goods   or   deliver   his 

              services   such   as   in   case   of   a   profession 

              under   a   trading   name   or   style.   With   the 


            lapse   of   time   such   business   or   services 

            associated   with   a   person   acquire   a 

            reputation   or   goodwill   which   becomes   a 

            property   which   is   protected   by   courts.   A 

            competitor   initiating   sale   of   goods   or 

            services   in   the   same   name   or   by   imitating 

            that  name results  in injury to the business 

            of   one   who   has   the   property   in   that   name. 

            The law does not permit any one to carry on 

            his   business   in   such   a   way   as   would 

            persuade   the   customers   or   clients   in 

            believing that he goods or services belonging 

            to   someone   else   are   his   or   are   associated 

            therewith.   It   does   not   matter   whether   the 

            latter   person   does   so   fraudulently   or 

            otherwise.   The   reasons   are   two.   Firstly, 

            honesty  and fair play  are,  and ought  to be, 

            the   basic   policies   in   the   world   of   business. 

            Secondly,   when   a  person  adopts  or  intends 

            to   adopt   a   name   in   connection   with   his 

            business   or   services   which   already   belongs 

            to   someone   else  it  results  in  confusion  and 

            has   propensity   of   diverting   the   customers 

            and   clients   of   someone   else   to   himself   and 

            thereby resulting in injury."

66.    Mr. Sundaram also placed reliance on a judgment of this 

court   in  Satyam   Infoway  Ltd.    v.  Sifynet   Solutions  (P)  

Limited  -   2004   (6)   SCC   145.     The   relevant   passage   is 

reproduced as under:-

            "The next question is would the principles of 

            trade   mark   law   and   in   particular   those 


             relating   to   passing   off   apply?   An   action   for 

             passing off, as the phrase "passing off" itself 

             suggests,   is   to   restrain   the   defendant   from 

             passing   off   its   goods   or   services   to   the 

             public   as   that   of   the   plaintiff's.   It   is   an 

             action not only to preserve the reputation of 

             the   plaintiff   but   also   to   safeguard   the 

             public.   The   defendant   must   have   sold   its 

             goods   or   offered   its   services   in   a   manner 

             which   has   deceived   or   would   be   likely   to 

             deceive   the   public   into   thinking   that   the 

             defendant's   goods   or   services   are   the 

             plaintiff's.   The   action   is   normally   available 

             to the owner of a distinctive trademark and 

             the   person   who,   if   the   word   or   name   is   an 

             invented   one,   invents   and   uses   it.   If   two 

             trade   rivals   claim   to   have   individually 

             invented   the   same   mark,   then   the   trader 

             who   is   able   to   establish   prior   user   will 

             succeed. The question is, as has been aptly 

             put, who gets these first? It is not essential 

             for   the   plaintiff   to   prove   long   user   to 

             establish reputation in a passing off action. 

             It   would   depend   upon   the   volume   of   sales 

             and extent of advertisement."

67.    Mr.  Sundaram also  relied  on  Ramdev Food Products (P)  

Limited v. Arvindbhai Rambhai Patel and Others  - 2006 (8) 

SCC 726 as under:-

       "A trade mark is the property of the manufacturer. 

       The   purpose   of   a   trade   mark   is   to   establish   a 

       connection   between   the   goods   and   the   source 

       thereof which would suggest the quality of goods. If 

       the   trade   mark   is   registered,   indisputably   the   user 


       thereof by a person who is not otherwise authorised 

       to   do   so   would   constitute   infringement.   Section  21 

       of the 1958 Act provides  that where  an application 

       for   registration   is   filed,   the   same   can   be   opposed. 

       Ordinarily   under   the   law   and,   as   noticed 

       hereinbefore,   there   can   only   be   one   mark,   one 

       source   or   one   proprietor.   Ordinarily   again   right   to 

       user   of   a   trade   mark   cannot   have   two   origins.   The 

       first   respondent   herein   is   a   rival   trader   of   the 

       appellant-Company. It did not in law have any right 

       to   use   the   said   trade   mark,   save   and   except   by 

       reason   of   the   terms   contained   in   the   MOU   or 

       continuous   user.   It   is   well-settled   that   when 

       defences   in   regard   to   right   of   user   are   set   up,   the 

       onus   would   be   on   the   person   who   has   taken   the 

       said   plea.   It   is   equally   well-settled   that   a   person 

       cannot   use   a   mark   which   would   be   deceptively 

       similar   to   that   of   the   registered   trade   mark. 

       Registration   of   trade   marks   is   envisaged   to   remove 

       any   confusion   in   the   minds   of   the   consumers.   If, 

       thus,   goods   are   sold   which   are   produced   from   two 

       sources,   the   same   may   lead   to   confusion   in   the 

       minds of the consumers. In a given situation, it may 

       also amount to fraud on the public. A proprietor of a 

       registered   trade   mark   indisputably   has   a   statutory 

       right thereto. In the event of such use by any person 

       other   than   the   person   in   whose   name   the   trade 

       mark is registered, he will have a statutory remedy 

       in   terms   of   Section  21  of   the   1958   Act.   Ordinarily, 

       therefore,   two   people   are   not   entitled   to   the   same 

       trade   mark,   unless   there   exists   an   express   licence 

       in that behalf." 

68.    He   also   relied   on  Harrods   Limited  v.  R.   Harrod  

Limited - (1924) RPC 74 where the court observed as under:-


             "   seems   to   me   to   be   quite   clear   that 

             where   there   is   fraud   the   Court   can   interfere 

             and there is fraud where you find a particular 

             name   taken   by   a   defendant,   a   well   known 

             fancy   name,   which   could   not   be   taken   for   a 

             legitimate   purpose,   and   a   name   which   is 

             taken, to use Lord Justice Buckley's words, for 

             the   purpose   of   posing   as   being   some   person 

             whom you are not. 

             In Aerators Limited v. Tollitt (L.R. (1902) 2 Ch., 

             p.319),  Mr.Justice  Farwell,  said this, that you 

             can   interfere   where   the   use   of   the   particular 

             name   is   calculated   to   deceive,   even   though   it 

             does not point to intentional fraud, and it is a 

             question of fact in each case as to whether or 

             not   the   names   were   so   alike   as   to   induce   the 

             belief   that   the   companies   are   identical.     So 

             that,   where   there   is   fraud,   the   court   can 

             interfere, and where the names are so alike as 

             to   be   calculated   to   deceive   it   can   interfere. 

             Further it may draw the inference that there is 

             fraud   where   there   is   an   attempt   to   pose   as 

             being a particular business firm when you are 

             not, and are not entitled to use their name."

69.    Mr. Sundaram also placed reliance on  Harrods Limited  

v.   Harrodian School Limited  (1996) RPC 697.   In this case 

the   court   held   that   the   manifold   services   and   activities   for 

which   the   plaintiffs   are   known,   and   the   wide   field   of 

recognition   of   the   name   "Harrods",   would   lead   to   an 

assumption that, the plaintiffs are in some way are connected, 


associated   or   mixed-up   with   the   school   which   bears   their 

name   in   its   adjectival   form.     The   court   also   observed   that 

Erosion   of   distinctiveness   of   a   brand   name   had   been 

recognized  as a form of damage to the goodwill  of a  business 

with which the name is connected in a number of  cases, but 

unless   care   was   taken   this   could   mark   an   unacceptable 

extension of the law of passing off.

70.    Learned  counsel  for  the  respondent  company  also relied 

on   a   judgment   of   this   Court   in   the   case   of  Midas   Hygiene  

Industries   (P)   Ltd.     and   another   v.     Sudhir   Bhatia   and  

others  (2004) 3 SCC 90.   The court observed that the law on 

the   subject   is   well  settled.     In  cases  of  infringement  either   of 

trade   mark   or   of   copyright,   normally   an   injunction   must 

follow.  Mere delay in bringing action is not sufficient to defeat 

grant of injunction in such cases.  The grant of injunction also 

becomes necessary if it prima facie appears that the adoption 

of the mark was itself dishonest.

71.    Mr.   Sundaram   also   relied   on   a   judgment   of   the   Delhi 

High   Court   in   the   case   of  Madhubhan   Holiday   Inn   v.  


Holiday Inn Inc.  100 (2002) DLT 306 (DB)  (on which one of 

us, Dalveer Bhandari, J. was the author).  The Division Bench 

of the High Court observed as under:

                    "...   the   adoption   of   the   words   "Holiday 

             Inn"   by   the   appellants   is  ex   facie    fraudulent 

             and  mala   fide  from   the   very   inception.     The 

             words "Holiday Inn" have been adopted by the 

             appellant   to   ride   on   the   global   reputation   of 

             the   respondent.     The   appellant   was   actuated 

             by bad faith and dishonest motive.  In the facts 

             and   circumstances,   the   learned   Single   Judge 

             was   fully   justified   in   granting   the   injunction 

             and decreeing the suits in order to protect the 

             commercial   goodwill   and   to   ensure   that   the 

             global business reputation of the respondent is 

             not exploited by the appellants in a clandestine 


72.    Learned   counsel   for   the   respondent   company   also 

submitted   that  where   a   trade/business  name   has  acquired   a 

reputation such as it has become a household name.  In such 

a case anyone who uses the identical name albeit in a different 

field   of   business   altogether   would   be   guilty   of   passing   off   by 

cashing   in   on   the   reputation   and   goodwill   of   the   business   of 

the plaintiff and would be restrained. 


73.       Mr.   Sundaram   also   placed   reliance   on   the   judgment   of 

Harrodian   School   Limited  (supra).     The   court   observed   as 


                "The   absence   of   any   common   field   of   activity:  

                This is of particular significance in the present 

                case.     The   judge   correctly   directed   himself   as 

                to the law; he cannot be faulted in the way in 

                which   he   applied   it.     It   is   not  merely  that  the 

                plaintiffs have never run a school and have no 

                established   reputation   for   doing   so;   or   even 

                that   the   nature   of   the   parties'   respective 

                businesses   are   as   dissimilar   as   can   well   be 

                imagined.     It   is   rather   that   the   commercial 

                reputation   for   excellence   as   a   retailer   which 

                the   plaintiffs   enjoy   would   be   regarded   by   the 

                public as having no bearing upon their ability 

                to   run   a   school.     Customers   of   the   plaintiffs 

                would   be  surprised to   learn   that Harrods   had 

                ventured   into   the   commercial   theatre;   they 

                would, I think, be incredulous if they were told 

                that   Harrods   had   opened   a   preparatory 


74.       The   respondent   company   also   placed   reliance   on   a 

judgment of this Court in the case of Mahendra & Mahendra  

Paper   Mills   Limited     v.     Mahindra   &   Mahindra   Limited  

(2002) 2 SCC 147 wherein this Court observed as under:


                  "Judging   the   case   in   hand   on   touchstone   of 

                the principles laid down in the aforementioned 

                decided cases, it is clear that the plaintiff has 


            been   using   the   word   "Mahindra"   and 

            "Mahindra            &         Mahindra"          in         its 

            companies/business   concerns   for  a  long  span 

            of time extending over five decades. The name 

            has   acquired   a   distinctiveness   and   a 

            secondary   meaning   in   the   business   or   trade 

            circles.   People   have   come   to   associate   the 

            name   'Mahindra'   with   a   certain   standard   of 

            goods   and   services.   Any   attempt   by   another 

            person to use the name in business and trade 

            circles is likely to and in probability will create 

            an   impression   of   a   connection   with   the 

            plaintiffs' group of companies.  Such user may 

            also   effect   the   plaintiff   prejudicially   in   its 

            business   and   trading   activities.   Undoubtedly, 

            the   question   whether   the   plaintiffs'   claim   of 

            'passing-off   action'   against   the   defendant   will 

            be   accepted   or   not   has   to   be   decided   by   the 

            Court after evidence is led in the suit. Even so 

            far   the   limited   purpose   of   considering   the 

            prayer   for   interlocutory   injunction   which   is 

            intended   for   maintenance   of   status   quo,   the 

            trial   Court   rightly   held   that   the   plaintiff   has 

            established a prima facie case and irreparable 

            prejudice   in  its  favour   which   calls   for   passing 

            an   order   of   interim   injunction   restraining   the 

            defendant-company which is yet to commence 

            its   business   from   utilising   the   name   of 

            'Mahindra'   or   'Mahindra   &   Mahindra'   for   the 

            purpose   of   its   trade   and   business.   Therefore, 

            the   Division   Bench   of   the   High   Court   cannot 

            be   faulted   for   confirming   the   order   of 

            injunction   passed   by   the   learned   single 


75.    Mr. Sundaram also relied on a judgment of this court in 

the case of  Bata India Limited   v.   Pyare Lal & Company,  


Meerut   City   &   Ors.    AIR   1985   All   242]  the   Allahabad   High 

Court   observed   that   considering   the   plea   of   passing-off   or 

enabling   others   to   pass-off   mattresses,   sofa   cushions   and 

other articles associating them with the name of "Bata" in any 

manner or form held that:

             "The   name   `Bata'   was   well   known   in   the 

             market and the user of such a name is likely to 

             cause   not   only   deception   in   the   mind   of   an 

             ordinary   customer   but   may   also   cause   injury 

             to   the   plaintiff   Company.     The   fact   that   the 

             plaintiff   was   not   producing   form   was   not 

             enough to hold that there could be no passing-

             off   action   in   respect   of   the   user   of   the   name 

             `Bata'   to   the   products   marketed   by   the 

             defendants.     The   use   of   the   name   or   mark 

             `Bata'   by   the   defendants   is   indicative   of   their 


76.    Learned  counsel  for  the  respondent  company  also  relied 

on   a   judgment   of   Delhi   High   Court   in   the   case   of  Diamler  

Benz   Aktiegesellschaft  (supra)  wherein   the   Court   observed 

as under:

             "... ... ...The boxes in which the defendant sells 

             its   undergarments   for   men,   and   the 

             representation   thereon   is   of   a   man   with   his 

             legs   separated   and   hands   joined   together 

             above his shoulder, all within a circle, indicate, 

             the   strong   suggestion   of   the   link   between   the 

             three pointed star of "Mercedes Benz" car and 


     the   undergarment's   sold   by   the   defendant.   In 

     my   view,   this   cannot   be   considered   to   be   a 

     "honest   concurrent   user"   by   the   defendant   of 

     the above said symbol."

The Court also observed in the said case that:

     "There   are   marks   which   are   different   from 

     other   marks.   There   are   names   which   are 

     different   from   other   names.   There   are   names 

     and   marks   which   have   become   household 

     words.   "Benz"   as   name   of   a   Car   would   be 

     known   to   every   family   that   has   ever   used   a 

     quality   car.   The   name   "Benz"   as   applied   to   a 

     car, has a unique place in the world. There is 

     hardly one who is conscious of existence of the 

     cars/automobiles,   who   would   not   recognize 

     the name "Benz" used in connection with cars. 

     Nobody   can   plead   in   India,   where   "Mercedes 

     Benz"   cars   are   seen   on   roads,   where 

     "Mercedes"   have   collaborated   with   Tatas, 

     where   there   are   Mercedes   Benz   Tata   trucks 

     have   been   on   roads   in   very   large   number, 

     (known   as   Mercedes   Benz   Trucks,   so   long   as 

     the   collaboration   was   there),   who   can   plead 

     that he is unaware of the word "Benz" as used 

     with reference to car or trucks.

     In my view, the Trade Mark law is not intended 

     to protect a person who deliberately sets out to 

     take  the  benefit  of  somebody  else's  reputation 

     with reference to goods, especially so when the 

     reputation   extends   world   wide.   By   no   stretch 

     of  imagination   can  it  be   said  that  use  for   any 

     length   of   time   of   the   name   "Benz"   should   be 

     not objected to."


The Court further observed as under:

            "However, if despite legal notice, any one big or 

            small, continues to carry the illegitimate use of 

            a significant world wide renowned name/ mark 

            as   is   being   done   in   this   case   despite   notice 

            dated 09-12-1989, there cannot be any reason 

            for   not   stopping   the   use   of   a   world   reputed 

            name. None should be continued to be allowed 

            to   use   a   world   famed   name   to   goods   which 

            have   no   connection   with   the   type   of   goods 

            which   have   generated   the   world   wide 


            In the instant case, "Benz" is a name given to a 

            very high priced and extremely well engineered 

            product.   In   my   view,   the   defendant   cannot 

            dilute,   that   by   user   of   the   name   "Benz"   with 

            respect to a product like under-wears."

77.    Mr.   Sundaram   placed   reliance   on  Harrods   Limited  

(supra) where the Court observed as under:

                  "Messrs.   Harrods   Limited,   a   long 

            established   and   well   known   Company   whose 

            business   included   a   banking   department   but 

            who   were   precluded   by   their   Articles   of 

            Association   from   carrying   on   a   moneylenders 

            business brought an action against R.  Harrod 

            Limited,   a   Company   registered   in   August, 

            1923,   with   the   object   of   carrying   on   the 

            business   of   a   registered   moneylender.     The 

            plaintiffs   applied   for   an   interlocutory 

            injunction   "to   restrain   the   Defendant 

            Company,   its   servants   and   agents   until 

            judgment   or   further   order   from   carrying   on 


             business under the name R. Harrod Limited or 

             under any name comprising the word "Harrod" 

             likely to mislead the public into the belief that 

             the   Defendant   Company   was   connected   with 

             the   Plaintiff   Company   or   that   the   business   of 

             the Defendant Company was the same as or in 

             any   way   connected   with   the   business   of   the 

             Plaintiff Company."

78.    Learned   counsel   for   the   respondent   company   submitted 

that   the   scope   of   passing-off   action   is   wider   than   in   an 

infringement   of   trademark   or   copyright   action.     Therefore,   in 

an   action   of   passing-off,   an   injunction   can   be   granted   even 

against a registered trademark holder.

79.    Learned  counsel  for  the  respondent  company  also  relied 

on a judgment of this Court in the case of  N.R. Dongre and  

others     v.     Whirlpool   Corporation   and   another  (1996)   5  

SCC   714.    In   this   case   this   Court   affirmed   the   concurrent 

findings   of   the   single   Judge,   as   affirmed   on   appeal   by   the 

division bench of the Delhi High Court and observed that:

             "...   ...   ...adopting   the   mark   `Whirlpool'   when 

             business   in   washing   machines   was   being 

             carried   out   earlier   in   other   names,   which   at 

             this   stage,   is   supportive   of   the   plea   of   unfair 

             trading   activity   in   an   attempt   to   obtain 

             economic benefit of the reputation established 


             by   Plaintiff   1,   whose   name   is   associated   with 

             the mark `Whirlpool'. ... ... ..."

80.    Mr.   Sundaram   also   submitted   that   common   words   with 

strong   primary   meaning   retain   the   said   meaning   and 

protection   would   then   be   granted   only   qua   the   product   for 

which   such   common   word   is   used   viz.   Sun   TV,   Moon,   Earth 

etc.     In   this   connection   learned   counsel   for   the   respondent 

company relied on a case of this Court in the case of Godfrey  

Philips   India   Limited     v.     Girnar   Food   &   Beverages   (P)  

Limited (2004) 5 SCC 257 where this court observed as under:

             "Without   going   into   the   question   whether   the 

             conclusion   arrived   at   by   the   Division   Bench 

             that the trade mark is descriptive is correct or 

             not,   it   appears   to   us,   and   as   is   conceded   by 

             both parties before us, that the enunciation of 

             principle   of   law   with   regard   to   the   protection 

             available   even   in   respect   of   the   descriptive 

             trade   mark   was   wrong.   A   descriptive   trade 

             mark   may   be   entitled   to   protection   if   it   has 

             assumed a secondary meaning which identifies 

             it with a particular product or as being from a 

             particular source. ... ... ..."

81.    Learned  counsel  for  the  respondent  company  also  relied 

on   a   judgment   of  Delhi   High   Court   in   the   case   of  Info   Edge  

(India)   Private   Limited   and   another     v.     Shailesh   Gupta  


and   another    98   (2002)   DLT   499   where   the   Court   observed 


            "It was sought to be submitted by the counsel 

            appearing   for   the   defendant   that   the   word 

            'Naukri'   cannot   assume   a   significance   of   a 

            trademark,   as   the   same   is   generic.   The   word 

            'Naukri',   would   be   a   descriptive   word   as   it 

            denotes and describes the nature of work and 

            business   offered   by   the   plaintiff.   The   plaintiff 

            has   chosen   to   use   the   domain   name 

            'Naukri.Com',   which   is   descriptive   of   the 

            business,   the   plaintiff   carries   on   i.e.   it   gives 

            information   to   its   subscribers   about   the 

            availability of jobs and employment in various 

            establishments,   concerns   and   offices   and   the 

            manner   in   which   request   for   employment 

            could   be   made   and,   therefore,   it   is   a   service 

            offered   by   the   plaintiff   relating   to   job 

            opportunity and situation and giving guidance 

            thereto   and,   therefore,   the   same   is   a 

            descriptive   word.   It   is   also   a   settled   law   that 

            the   distinction   between   the   generic   word   and 

            descriptive   word   is   very   thin   and   such   word 

            could also assume a secondary meaning by its 

            long   user   by   a   person,   who   establishes   his 

            reputation in the market.

            If   a   product   of   a   particular   character   or 

            composition is marketed in a particular area or 

            place   under   a   descriptive   name   and   gained   a 

            reputation   there   under,   that   name   which 

            distinguished   it   from   competing   products   of 

            different composition, the goodwill in the name 

            of   those   entitled   to   make   use   of   it   there   was 

            protected   against   deceptive   use   there   of   the 

            name   of   competitors.     In  Erven   Warnink   by  


             and   Ors.   v.   J   Townend   &   Sons   (Hull)   Ltd.  

             and   Ors.  reported   in   (1979)   2   All   ER,   it   was 

             held that whether the name denoted a product 

             made   from   ingredients   from   a   particular 

             locality   or   whether   the   goodwill   in   the   name 

             was the result of the product being made from 

             particular   ingredients   regardless   of   their 

             provenance,   since   it   was   the   reputation   that 

             the product itself had gained in the market by 

             reason   of   its   recognisable   and   distinctive 

             qualities   which   had   generated   the   relevant 

             goodwill.   In   the   said   case,   the   trademark   was 

             the   name   of   a   spirit-based   product   called 

             ADVOCAAT.   The   said   product   had   gained   a 

             reputation   and   goodwill   for   that   name   in   the 

             English   market   and   the   defendants   were 

             seeking   to   take   advantage   of   that   name   by 

             misrepresenting that their wine-based product 

             was of the same type as ADVOCAAT."

82.    Mr. Sundaram placed reliance on a judgment of House of 

Lords   in   the   case   of  Office   Cleaning   Services     Limited   v.  

Westminster   Office   Cleaning   Association  1944   (2)   All   E   R 

269,   where   the   court   observed   that   the   word   'office   cleaning' 

was held to be a descriptive word, for it is a descriptive of the 

business   they   carry   on.   It   was   held   that   the   plaintiff   could 

assume   or   establish   monopoly   on   the   said   word   only   when 

they  show  that they  have  acquired  a secondary or subsidiary 

meaning. The aforesaid legal principle is well-settled and even 


the   counsel   for   the   defendant   did   not   dispute   the   aforesaid 


83.    In Halsbury's Laws of England, Volume 48 Fourth edition 

at page 190, it is stated that it is possible for a word or phrase, 

which is wholly descriptive of the goods or services concerned, 

to   become   so   associated   with   the   goods   or   services   of   a 

particular   trader   that   its   use   by   another   trader   is   capable   of 

amounting   to   a   representation   that   his   goods   or   services   are 

those   of   the   first   trader   and   that   although   the   primary 

meaning   of   the   words   is   descriptive,   they   have   acquired   a 

secondary  meaning as indicating  the  products  of a particular 


84.    In McCarthy on Trademarks and Unfair Competition Vol. 

2   3rd   Edition   in   para   12.5   (2)   it   is   stated   that   in   order   to 

obtain some form of relief on a "passing off" claim, the user of 

a   generic   term   must   prove   some   false   or   confusing   usage   by 

the newcomer above and beyond mere use of generic name.


85.    The   contention   of   the   defendant   is   that   adjectives   are 

normally   descriptive   words   and   nouns   are   generic   word. 

However, McCarthy has said that the said "part of speech" test 

does   not   accurately   describes  the   case   law   results.   therefore, 

such a criteria cannot be accepted as a safe and sound basis 

to   ascertain   as   to   whether   a   particular   name   is   generic   or 

descriptive.   Besides,   even   assuming   that   the   said   word   is 

generic   yet   if   it   is   found   by   the   court   that   such   a   mark   has 

attained distinctiveness and is associated with the business of 

the plaintiff for considerable time and thereafter the defendant 

adopts   a   similar   word   as   one   of   his   two   marks   to   induce 

innocent   internet   users   to   come   to   the   website   of   the 

defendant,   which   establishes   dishonest   intention   and   bad 

faith,   would   the   court   still   be   not   granting   injunction   to 

protect   the   business   of   the   plaintiff?   The   answer   to   the   said 

question has to be an emphatic 'No". User of similar word by a 

competitor   coupled   with   dishonest   intention   and   bad   faith 

would   empower   a   court   to   restrain   such   user/misuser   to   do 

equitable justice to the aggrieved party.


86.    Learned   counsel   for   the   respondent   company   also 

submitted that the use of the word by another would result in 

diminishing the distinctiveness of the word qua the good and 

reputation of the plaintiff.  

87.    Mr.   Sundaram   also   placed   reliance   on  Taittinger   and  

others  v.  Allbev Limitd and others (1994) 4 All E R 75. The 

relevant passages are reproduced as under:

            "...   ...   ...Further   it   cannot   be   right   that   the 

            larger   the   scale   of   the   activities   of   a   trader 

            suing  in passing off, the less  protection  it will 

            receive   from   the   Court   because   of   a 

            comparison with the scale of the activities of a 

            defendant   who   trades   on   a   smaller   scale.   The 

            question   is   whether   the   relevant   activities   of 

            the   defendants   are   on   such   a   small   scale 

            leading   to   such   a   small   injury   that   it   can   be 

            ignored.   On   the   evidence   of   the   defendants' 

            sales,   I   find   it   impossible   to   say   that   is   the 

            case here. 

            But   in   my   judgement   the   real   injury   to   the 

            champagne   houses'   goodwill   comes   under   a 

            different head and although the judge refers to 

            Mr. Sparrow putting the point in argument, he 

            does   not   deal   with   it   specifically   or   give   a 

            reason for its undoubted rejection by him. Mr. 

            Sparrow   had   argued   that   if   the   defendants 

            continued to market their product, there would 

            take   place   a   blurring   or   erosion   of   the 

            uniqueness   that   now   attends   the   word 


champagne, so that the exclusive reputation of 

the   champagne   houses   would   be   debased.   He 

put   this   even   more   forcefully   before   us.   He 

submitted that if the defendants are allowed to 

continue   to   call   their   product   Elderflower 

Champagne,   the   effect   would   be   to   demolish 

the   distinctiveness   of   the   word   champagne, 

and that would inevitably damage the goodwill 

of the champagne houses. 

In   Advocaat   case   [1980]   RPC   31   at   first 

instance     Goulding   J.   held   that   one   type   of 

damage   was   'a   more   gradual   damage   to   the 

plaintiffs' business through depreciation of the 

reputation   that   their   goods   enjoy.'   He 

continued: Damage of [this] type can rarely be 

susceptible of positive proof. In my judgement, 

it   is   likely   to   occur   if   the   word   'Advocaat'   is 

permitted   to   be   used   of   alcoholic   egg   drinks 

generally   or   of   the   defendants'   product   in 


In   the   House   of   Lords   in   that   case   Lord 

Diplock   referred   to   that   type   of   damage   to 

goodwill   as   relevant   damage,   which   he 

described   as   caused   'indirectly   in   the 

debasement of the reputation attaching to the 

name "advocaat. ..."

In  Vine   Products   Ltd.   v.   Mackenzie   &   Co.  

Ltd.  Cross J., [1969] RPC 1  commenting with 

approval   on   the   decision   of   Danckwerts   J.   in 

Bollinger v. Costa Brava Wine Co. Ltd. (No. 2) 


[Danckwerts   J.]   thought,   as   I   read   in   his 

judgment,   that   if   people   were   allowed   to   call 

sparkling   wine   not   produced   in   Champagne 

'Champagne,'   even   though   preceded   by   an 


adjective   denoting   the   country   of   origin,   the 

distinction   between   genuine   Champagne   and 

'champagne   type'   wines   produced   elsewhere 

would   become   blurred;   that   the   word 

'Champagne' would come gradually to mean no 

more   than   'sparkling   wine';   and   that   the   part 

of   the   plaintiffs'   goodwill   which   consisted   in 

the   name   would   be   diluted   and   gradually 


That   passage   was   referred   to   approvingly   by 

Gault   J.   in  Wineworths   Group   Limited     v.  

Comite   Interprofessionel   du   Vin   de  

Champagne  [1992]   2   NZLR   327   In   that   case 

the sale of Australian sparkling wine under the 

name   champagne   was   held   to   constitute 

passing   off.   The  New Zealand  Court   of  Appeal 

upheld the decision of Jeffries J. who had held 

in C.I.V.C. v. Wineworths: 

By using the word champagne on the label the 

defendant   is   deceptively   encroaching   on   the 

reputation and goodwill of the plaintiffs. [1991] 

2 NZLR 432 

Jeffries   J.   had   no   doubt   that   if   relief   was   not 

granted   the   plaintiffs   would   most   certainly 

suffer   damage   if   the   word   was   used   on   all   or 

any   sparkling   wine   sold   in   New   Zealand.   He 

thought   the   ordinary   purchaser   in   New 

Zealand   without   special   knowledge   on   wines 

was likely to be misled. Gault J. after agreeing 

with Jeffries J. on deception said (at p.343): 

I find the issue of damage or likely damage to 

the goodwill with which the name 'Champagne' 

is   associated   equally   obvious   in   light   of   the 

finding   that   there   is   in   fact   an   established 

goodwill in New Zealand. I have no doubt that 


erosion   of   the   distinctiveness   of   a   name   or 

mark is a form of damage to the goodwill of the 

business   with   which   the   name   is   connected. 

There   is   no   clearer   example   of   this   than   the 

debasing of the name 'Champagne' in Australia 

as a result of its use by local wine makers.  

By   parity   of   reasoning   it   seems  to   me   no   less 

obvious   that   erosion   of   the   distinctiveness   of 

the name champagne in this country is a form 

of   damage   to   the   goodwill   of   the   business   of 

the champagne houses. There are undoubtedly 

factual   points   of   distinction   between   the   New 

Zealand   case   and   the   present   case,   as   Mr. 

Isaacs   has   pointed   out,   and   he   placed 

particular reliance on the fact that in the New 

Zealand   case   as   well   as   in   Bollinger   v.   Costa 

Brava   Wine   Co.   Ltd.   (No.   2),   the   Court   held 

that   there   was   a   deliberate   attempt   to   take 

advantage of the name champagne, whereas in 

the   present   case   the   judge   found   no   such 

specific   intention.   In   general   it   is   no   doubt 

easier   to   infer   damage   when   a   fraudulent 

intention is established. But that fact does not 

appear   to   have   played   any   part   in   the 

reasoning   on   this   particular   point   either   of 

Jeffries   J.   or   of   Sir   Robin   Cooke   P.,   who 

thought the case exemplified the principle that 

a tendency to impair distinctiveness might lead 

to an inference of damage to goodwill [1992] 2 

NZLR 327, or of Gault J.; nor in logic can I see 

why it should. It seems to me inevitable that if 

the   defendants,   with   their   not   insignificant 

trade as a supplier of drinks to Sainsbury and 

other   retail   outlets,   are   permitted   to   use   the 

name   Elderflower   Champagne,   the   goodwill   in 

the distinctive name champagne will be eroded 

with   serious   adverse   consequences   for   the 

champagne houses. 


             In   my   judgement   therefore   the   fifth 

             characteristic   identified   in   Advocaat   case   is 

             established. I can see no exceptional feature to 

             this   case   which   would   justify   on   grounds   of 

             public policy withholding from the champagne 

             houses the ordinary remedy of an injunction to 

             restrain passing off. I would therefore grant an 

             injunction   to   restrain   the   defendants   from 

             selling,   offering   for   sale,   distributing   and 

             describing,   whether   in   advertisements   or   on 

             labels or in any other way, any beverages, not 

             being wine produced in Champagne,  under or 

             by   reference   to   the   word   champagne.   That 

             injunction,   I   would,   emphasise,   does   not 

             prevent   the   sale   of   the   defendants'   product, 

             provided it is not called champagne."

88.    Learned   counsel   for   the   respondent  company  also 

submitted that the protection qua common field of activity has 

now   expanded   and   been   interpreted   to   mean   extending   to 

other product lines than what is manufactured by the plaintiff 

and hence common field of activity is not restricted to same or 

similar products but extend to all other products.   The test of 

common field of activity now accepted is that of "common class 

of   consumers".     The   reason   for   this   is   the   likelihood   of   such 

consumers   identifying   the   Defendant's   goods   as   originating 

from the same source as the plaintiff.   The question therefore 


would be, whether from the factual situation, an inference can 

be   drawn   that   a   purchaser   of   the   Defendant's   product   could 

assume such product as originating from the plaintiff.  

89.    He  also  relied   on  Kamal   Trading   Co.,   Bombay   and  

Others  v.  Gillette U.K. Limited  [1988] IPLR 135   wherein it 

has been observed that:

            "... ... ..the plaintiffs have not established  any 

            of  the   conditions   required  for   grant  of  interim 

            relief.     It   was   submitted   that   the   goods 

            manufactured   by   the   plaintiffs   and   the 

            defendants   are   different   in   nature;   the 

            plaintiffs   manufacture   blades,   while   the 

            defendants manufacture "tooth brushes".   The 

            goods   of   the   plaintiffs   and   the   defendants   are 

            not   available   in   the   same   shop   and   the 

            customers   of   these   goods   are   different.     The 

            goods sold by the plaintiffs are blades and fall 

            in   class   8,   while   those   of   the   defendants   are 

            tooth   brushes   which   fall   in   class   21.     Relying 

            on   these   circumstances,   it   was   merit   in   this 

            submission.   In   the   first   instance,   the 

            assumption   of   the   learned   counsel   that   the 

            class   of   customers   for   purchase   of   safety 

            blades   and   tooth   brushes   are   different   and 

            these goods are not available in the same shop 

            is wholly misconceived.  We take judicial notice 

            of   the   fact   that   these   goods   are   available   in 

            every   shop   including   a   small   shop   and   each 

            and every person is required to purchase these 

            goods. ... ... ..."


90.    Mr.   Sundaram   also   relied   on  Honda   Motors   Company  

Limited       v.     Charanjit   Singh   &   Others    (101   (2002)   DLT  

359) wherein it has been observed that:

              "The   case   of   the   plaintiff   is   in   fact   based   on 

            passing   off   action   and   not   for   infringement   of 

            the   trade   mark.   It  has   never   been  the   case   of 

            the   plaintiff   that   the   two   sets   of   goods   are 

            identical. The concept of passing off, which is a 

            form   of   tort   has   undergone   changes   with   the 

            course of time. The plaintiff now does not have 

            to be in direct competition with the defendant 

            to suffer injury from the use of its trade name 

            by the defendants."

       The court further observed that:

            "In   the   present   case   the   plaintiff's   mark 

            HONDA  has   acquired   a   global   goodwill   and 

            reputation.   Its   reputation   is   for   quality 

            products.   The   name   of  HONDA  is   associated 

            with   the   plaintiff's   especially   in   the   field   of 

            automobiles   and   power   equipments   on 

            account   of   their   superior   quality   and   high 

            standard.   The   plaintiff's   business   or   products 

            under   the   trade   mark  HONDA  has   acquired 

            such   goodwill   and   reputation   that   it   has 

            become   distinctive   of   its   products   and   the 

            defendants' user of this mark for their product 

            "Pressure  Cooker"  tends to  mislead  the  public 

            to   believe   that   the   defendants   business   and 

            goods   are   that   of   the   plaintiff.   Such   user   by 

            the   defendants   has   also   diluted   and   debased 

            the goodwill and reputation of the plaintiff.


As   observed   above,   the   concept   of   passing   off 

is a tort and with the passage of time, with the 

developing   case   law   it   has   changed   and   now 

the two traders need not necessarily operate in 

the same field so as to suffer injury on account 

of the goods of one  trader  being  passed  off as 

those of the other.

With the changed concept of passing off action, 

it   is   now   not   material   for   a   passing   off   action 

that   the   plaintiff   and   the   defendant   should 

trade   in   the   same   field.   I   find   that   some 

business   are   truly   international   in   character 

and   the   reputation   and   goodwill   attached   to 

them cannot in fact be held being international 

also. The plaintiff's business is of international 

character   and   obviously   the   reputation   and 

goodwill attached to its trade mark  HONDA  is 

also   of   international   repute.   The   plaintiff's 

trade mark  HONDA, which is of global repute, 

is   used   by   the   defendants   for   a   product   like 

pressure   cooker,   to   acquire   the   benefit   of   its 

goodwill   and   reputation   so   as   to   create 

deception  for   the   public   who  are   likely   to   buy 

defendant's   product   believing   the   same   as 

coming   from   the   house   of                HONDA         or 

associated   with   the   plaintiff   in   some   manner. 

By   doing   so,   it   would   dilute   the   goodwill   and 

reputation   of   the   plaintiff   and   the   wrong 

committed   by   the   defendants   would   certainly 

be   an   actionable   wrong   and   the   plaintiff   is 

within its rights to ask for restraint against the 

defendants   from   using   its   mark  HONDA  for 

their products."


91.    From the above discussions, the following two situations 


       i.     Where   the   name   of   the   plaintiff   is   such   as   to   give 

              him   exclusivity   over   the   name,   which   would   ipso 

              facto extend to barring any other person from using 

              the   same.         viz.   Benz,   Mahindra,   Caterpillar, 

              Reliance, Sahara, Diesel etc.

       ii.    The plaintiff's adopted name would be protected if it 

              has   acquired   a   strong   enough   association   with   the 

              plaintiff   and   the   defendant   has   adopted   such   a 

              name in common field of activity i.e. the purchasers 

              test   as   to   whether   in   the   facts   of   the   case,   the 

              manner   of   sale,   surrounding   circumstances   etc. 

              would   lead   to   an   inference   that   the   source   of 

              product is the plaintiff. 


92.    Learned   counsel   for   the   respondent  company  also 

submitted that once there is a dishonest intention to adopt the 

mark  a  mere  delay   in  bringing  an   action  will   not be   defeated 

because   in   case   of   continuing   tort   fresh   period   of   limitation 

begins   to   run   every   moment   of   the   time   during   which   the 

breach continues.  

93.   Mr.   Sundaram   relied   on   a   case   of   this   court   in  M/s.  

Bengal Waterproof Limited   Vs.    M/s. Bombay Waterproof  

Manufacturing   Company   and   Another    (1997)   1   SCC   99 

wherein it has been observed that:

             "... ... ...It is now well settled that an action for 

             passing off is  a common  law remedy  being  an 

             action in substance of deceit under the Law of 

             Torts.   Wherever   and   whenever   fresh   deceitful 

             act   is   committed   the   person   deceived   would 

             naturally   have   a   fresh   cause   of   action   in   his 

             favour. Thus every time when a person passes 

             off   his   goods   as   those   of   another   he   commits 

             the act of such deceit. Similarly whenever and 

             wherever   a   person   commits   breach   of   a 

             registered trade mark of another he commits a 

             recurring act of breach or infringement of such 

             trade mark giving a recurring and fresh cause 

             of action at each time of such infringement to 

             the party aggrieved. ... ... ..." 

                          ...      ...      ... 


                          ...      ...      ... 

            In   cases   of   continuous   causes   of   action   or 

            recurring causes of action bar of Order 2 Rule 

            2   Sub-rule   (3)   cannot   be   invoked.   In   this 

            connection   it   is   profitable   to   have   a   look   at 

            Section  22  of the  Limitation  Act, 1963. It lays 

            down  that  'in  the  case  of  a  continuing breach 

            of contract or in the case of a continuing tort, 

            a   fresh   period   of   limitation   begins   to   run   at 

            every   moment   of   the   time   during   which   the 

            branch   or   the   tort,   as   the   case   may   be, 

            continues.   As   act   of   passing   off   is   an   act   of 

            deceit and tort every time when such tortuous 

            act or deceit is committed by the defendant the 

            plaintiff gets a fresh cause of action to come to 

            the court by appropriate proceedings. Similarly 

            infringement of a registered trade mark would 

            also   be   a   continuing   wrong   so   long   as 

            infringement continues. Therefore, whether the 

            earlier   infringement   has   continued   or   a   new 

            infringement   has   taken   place   cause   of   action 

            for   filing   a   fresh  suit   would   obviously  arise   in 

            favour of the plaintiff who is aggrieved by such 

            fresh   infringements   of   trade   mark   or   fresh 

            passing   off   actions   alleged   against   the 

            defendant.   Consequently,   in   our   view   even   on 

            merits   the   learned   Trial   Judge   as   well   as   the 

            learned Single Judge were obviously in error in 

            taking   the   view   that   the   second   suit   of   the 

            plaintiff   in   the   present   case   was   barred   by 

            Order 2 Rule 2 Sub-rule (3), CPC."

94.    Learned counsel for the respondent company  also placed 

reliance   on   another   judgment   of   this   Court   in   the   case   of 


Heinz Italia and another  v.  Dabur India Limited (2007) 6 

SCC 1 wherein this court observed that:

            "... ....  it has  been repeatedly  held   that before 

            the   use   of   a   particular   mark   can   be 

            appropriated it is for the plaintiff to prove that 

            the product that he is representing had earned 

            a   reputation   in   the   market   and   that   this 

            reputation   had   been   sought   to   be   violated   by 

            the   opposite   party.   In  Corn   Products  case 

            (supra)   it   was   observed   that   the   principle   of 

            similarity   could   not   to   be   very   rigidly   applied 

            and that if it could be prima facie shown that 

            there was a dishonest intention on the part of 

            the   defendant   in   passing   off   goods,   an 

            injunction   should   ordinarily   follow   and   the 

            mere delay in bringing the matter to Court was 

            not a ground to defeat the case of the plaintiff. 

            It   bears   reiteration   that   the   word   "Glucon-D" 

            and   its   packaging   had   been   used   by   Glaxo 

            since 1940 whereas the word "Glucose-D" had 

            been used for the first time in the year 1989."

95.    Mr.   Sundaram   further   placed   reliance   on   another 

judgment of this Court in Ramdev Food Products (P) Limited  

(supra),  wherein it has been held that:

            "Acquiescence is a facet of delay. The principle 

            of   acquiescence   would   apply   where:   (i)   sitting 

            by   or   allow   another   to   invade   the   rights   and 

            spending   money   on   it;   (ii)   it   is   a   course   of 

            conduct   inconsistent   with   the   claim   for 

            exclusive   rights   for   trade   mark,   trade   name, 



             In  Power   Control   Appliances   and   Ors.   v.  

             Sumeet   Machines   Pvt.   Ltd.    [1994]   1   SCR 

             708, this Court stated: 

                    Acquiescence   is   sitting   by,   when 

                    another   is   invading   the   rights   and 

                    spending money on it. It is a course 

                    of   conduct   inconsistent   with   the 

                    claim  for  exclusive  rights  in  a trade 

                    mark,   trade   name   etc.   It   implies 

                    positive   acts;   not   merely   silence   or 

                    inaction   such   as   is   involved   in 


       The court further observed that:

             "The   defence   of   acquiescence,   thus,   would   be 

             satisfied when the plaintiff assents to or lay by 

             in relation to the acts of another person and in 

             view   of   that   assent   or   laying   by   and 

             consequent   acts   it   would   be   unjust   in   all   the 

             circumstances to grant the specific relief."

96.    Mr. Sundaram, counsel for the respondent company also 

submitted that use of a similar mark(s) by third parties is not 

a   defense   to   an   illegal   act   of   passing-off.     He   relied   on   a 

judgment   of   Delhi   High   Court   in  Ford   Motor   Company     of  

Canada Limited and another  v.  Ford Service Centre 2009 

(39) PTC 149, wherein the Court observed that:  

             "...   do   not   find   any   merit   in   the   plea   of 

             defendant   of   two   others,   outside   India   using 

             FORD in relation to other business. Their case 


            is   not   before   this   Court   for   adjudication   and 

            even if the plea of dilution was to be available 

            in   an   infringement   action,   no   case   of   dilution 

            in   India   is   made   out.   Recently   the   Division 

            Bench   of   this   Court   in   Pankaj   Goel   v.   Dabur 

            India   Limited   2008   (38)   PTC   49   (Delhi)   held 

            that   merely   because   others   are   carrying   on 

            business   under   similar   or   deceptively   similar 

            trademark or have been permitted to do so by 

            the plaintiff, cannot offer a licence to the world 

            at   large   to   infringe   the   trademark   of   the 

            plaintiff.   It   was   further   held   that   even 

            otherwise, the use of similar marks by a third 

            party   cannot   be   a   defence   to   an   illegal   act   of 

            passing   off.   In   Castrol   Limited   v.   A.K.   Mehta 

            1997   (17)   PTC   408   DB   it   was   held   that   a 

            concession   given   in   one   case   does   not   mean 

            that other parties are entitled to use the same. 

            Also,   in   Prakash   Roadline   v.   Prakash   Parcel 

            Service 1992 (2) Arbitration  Law Reporter 174 

            it has been held that use of a similar mark by 

            a   third   party   in   violation   of   plaintiff's   right   is 

            no defence."

97.    Learned counsel for the respondent company also placed 

reliance on  Prakash Roadline Limited   v.   Prakash Parcel  

Service   (P)   Ltd.    48   (1992)   Delhi   Law   Times   390   the   Delhi 

High Court held that:

            "...   ...   ...   Merely   because   no   action   is   taken 

            against certain other parties, it does not mean 

            that   the   plaintiff   is   not  entitled   to   take   action 

            against   the   defendant.   The   other   parties   may 

            not   be   affecting   the   business   of   the   plaintiff. 

            They   may   be   small-time   operators   who   really 


             do   not   matter   to   the   plaintiff.     Therefore,   the 

             plaintiff   may   not   chose   to   take   any   action 

             against   them.   On   the   contrary   the   plaintiff 

             feels danger from defendant in view of the fact 

             that   the   defendant's   promoters   are   the   ex 

             Directors/employees   of   the   plaintiff   who   are 

             fully in the know of the business secrets of the 

             plaintiff.   Therefore,   the   mere   fact   that   the 

             plaintiff   has   not   chosen   to   take   any   action 

             against   such   other   parties   cannot   disentitle 

             the   plaintiff   from   taking   the   present   action. 

             This   contention   is,   therefore,   prima-facie 

             without any merit and is rejected."

98.    Lastly,   learned   counsel   for   the   respondent   company 

submitted   that in any one  of the  following circumstances the 

plaintiff   would   be   entitled   to   injunctive   relief   even   qua   a 

common word:

       a.    If   the   factors   for   justifying   absolute   protection   as 

             per   `absolute   protection   for   common   words'   have 

             been   made   out   then   it   would   ipso   facto   entitle   the 

             plaintiff to protection against the world at large.

       b.    The   protection   would   be   given   against   any 

             particular   defendant   if   the   plaintiff's   name   has 

             acquired   a   secondary   meaning   and   the   defendant 


             uses   the   name   in   a   common   field   of   activity,   i.e. 

             where there are common purchasers.   However, the 

             court may decline to grant the relief if such name is 

             descriptive of the defendant's product and not just a 

             name unconnected with the defendant's product.

       c.    The   protection   would   be   granted   qua   a   defendant 

             with   relation   to   even   an   unrelated   product   where 

             the tests of dishonest adoption are satisfied and the 

             defendant   will   be   restrained   from   cashing   in   or 

             profiting from the plaintiff's name.

99.    We   have   heard   the   detailed   and   comprehensive 

arguments   advanced   by   the   learned   counsel   for   the   parties. 

We   place   on   record   our   appreciation   for   the   able   assistance 

provided by the learned counsel for the parties in this case. We 

have also carefully examined relevant decided Indian, English 

and American cases. 

100. The   respondent   company's   mark   `Eenadu'   has   acquired 

extra-ordinary reputation and goodwill in the State of Andhra 


Pradesh.   `Eenadu'   newspaper   and   TV   are   extremely   well 

known   and   almost   household   words   in   the   State   of   Andhra 

Pradesh.     The   word   `Eenadu'   may   be   a   descriptive   word   but 

has   acquired   a   secondary   or   subsidiary   meaning   and   is   fully 

identified   with   the   products   and   services   provided   by   the 

respondent company.

101. The appellant is a Karnataka based company which has 

started manufacturing its product in Bangalore in the name of 

`Ashika' and started selling its product in the State of Andhra 

Pradesh   in   1995.     The   appellant   started   using   the   name 

`Eenadu'   for   its   Agarbathi   and   used   the   same   artistic   script, 

font  and method of writing  the  name  which obviously cannot 

be   a   co-incidence.   The   appellant   company   after   adoption   of 

name   `Eenadu'     accounted   for   90%   of   sale   of   their   product 


102.      On   consideration   of   the   totality   of   facts   and 

circumstances   of   the   case,   we   clearly   arrive   at   the   following 

findings and conclusions : 


a)    The respondent company's mark `Eenadu' has 

      acquired extraordinary reputation and goodwill 

      in   the   State   of   Andhra   Pradesh.             The 

      respondent   company's   products   and   services 

      are   correlated,   identified   and   associated   with 

      the word `Eenadu' in the entire State of Andhra 

      Pradesh.         `Eenadu'   means   literally   the 

      products   or   services   provided   by   the 

      respondent   company   in   the   State   of   Andhra 

      Pradesh.     In   this   background   the   appellant 

      cannot   be   referred   or   termed   as   an   honest 

      concurrent user of the mark `Eenadu';

b)    The adoption of the words `Eenadu' is  ex facie 

      fraudulent   and   mala   fide   from   the   very 

      inception.     By   adopting   the   mark   `Eenadu'   in 

      the   State   of   Andhra   Pradesh,   the   appellant 

      clearly   wanted   to   ride   on   the   reputation   and 

      goodwill of the respondent company;

c)    Permitting   the   appellant   to   carry   on   his 

      business   would   in   fact   be   putting   a   seal   of 


      approval   of  the   court  on  the   dishonest,   illegal 

      and clandestine conduct of the appellant;

d)    Permitting   the   appellant   to   sell   his   product 

      with the mark `Eenadu' in the State of Andhra 

      Pradesh   would   definitely   create   confusion   in 

      the   minds   of   the   consumers   because   the 

      appellant   is   selling   Agarbathies   marked 

      `Eenadu'   as   to   be   designed   or   calculated   to 

      lead   purchasers   to   believe   that   its   product 

      Agarbathies   are   in   fact   the   products   of   the 

      respondent   company.     In   other   words,   the 

      appellant wants to ride  on  the reputation and 

      goodwill  of the  respondent  company.     In  such 

      a   situation,   it   is   the   bounden   duty   and 

      obligation   of   the   court   not   only   to   protect   the 

      goodwill   and   reputation   of   the   respondent 

      company but also to protect the interest of the 


e)    Permitting   the   appellant   to   sell   its   product   in 

      the State of Andhra Pradesh would amount to 


      encouraging the appellant to practise fraud on 

      the consumers;

f)    Permitting   the   appellant   to   carry   on   his 

      business  in the name of `Eenadu' in the State 

      of Andhra Pradesh would lead to eroding extra-

      ordinary   reputation   and   goodwill   acquired   by 

      the   respondent   company   over   a   passage   of 


g)    Appellant's   deliberate   misrepresentation   has 

      the   potentiality   of   creating   serious   confusion 

      and   deception   for   the   public   at   large   and   the 

      consumers   have   to   be   saved   from   such 

      fraudulent   and   deceitful   conduct   of   the 


h)    Permitting   the   appellant   to   sell   his   product 

      with the mark `Eenadu' would be encroaching 

      on   the   reputation   and   goodwill   of   the 

      respondent company and this would constitute 

      invasion   of   proprietary   rights   vested   with   the 

      respondent company.


        i)          Honesty and fair play ought to be the basis of 

                    the policies in the world of trade and business.

103.          The law is consistent that no one can be permitted 

to encroach upon the reputation and goodwill of other parties. 

This   approach   is   in   consonance   with   protecting   proprietary 

rights of the respondent company.

104.          Consequently, the appeals are disposed of in terms 

of the aforesaid observations and directions.  

105.          In   the   facts   and   circumstances   of   this   case,   the 

parties are directed to bear their own costs.


                                        (Dalveer Bhandari)


                                         (K.S. Panicker Radhakrishnan)

New Delhi;

March 3, 2011