The Bombay High Court on Friday granted permanent injunction against a clothing manufacturer from using the trade name ISCKON and declared that the International Society For Krishna Consciousness (ISCKON) is a well known trade mark in India within the meaning provided in Sections 2 (1)(zg) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999.
Justice BP Colabawalla heard the commercial IP suit filed by ISCKON against Isckon Apparel Pvt Ltd and observed-
"I have no doubt in my mind that the Plaintiff's trade mark ISKCON has come to enjoy a personality that is beyond the mere products/services rendered thereunder and the recognition, reputation and goodwill of the said trade mark ISKCON is today no longer restricted to any particular class of goods or services."
As reported earlier, Justice Colabawalla in an order dated March 6, had granted ad-interim injunction against the defendant apparel company.
Advocate Hiren Kamod appeared on behalf of the plaintiffs along with Advocates Vaibhav Keni and Neha Iyer instructed by Legasis partners and Director of the Defendant company Roshan Baid was also present during the hearing via video conferencing.
Roshan Baid told the Court that Iskcon Apparel Private Limited has changed its name to Alcis Sports Private Limited and that as on today 'Isckon Apparel' does not exist. He submits that he has served a copy of his affidavit-cum-undertaking dated June 23 upon the plaintiff submitting to a decree in terms of prayer clauses (a), (b) and (c) of the plaint and has given an undertaking that the defendants will not use the trademark / name ISKCON by itself or as a part of the trade mark /name or in any manner whatsoever including the impugned expression "Formerly known as ISKCON".
Hiren Kamod submitted that in view of the averments made in the plaint and the documents produced therewith, apart from decreeing the suit in terms of prayer clauses (a), (b) and (c) of the plaint, the plaintiff is entitled to a declaration that its trade mark ISKCON is a well-known trade mark in India.
Late Acharya Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada started the Krishna Consciousness Movement in the name and style of "International Society for Krishna Consciousness" (ISKCON) in New York, United States of America. Within a short span of time, the said movement spread all over the world and gained immense popularity and/or name and fame, Kamod contended. He submitted that presently, there are more than 600 ISKCON temples/65 eco-farm communities, 110 Vegetarian Restaurants and centers all over the world including in India.
Justice Colabawalla observed-
"At the outset, it is important to note that the claim of the Plaintiff that ISKCON is a well-known trade mark is not disputed by the Defendant. It is clear that ISKCON is a coined trademark of the Plaintiff, that is to say that the said term ISKCON did not exist prior to the Plaintiff's adoption and use of the same. Since it is a coined trademark which is associated exclusively with the Plaintiff, it undoubtedly deserves the highest degree of protection. The documents / material evidently show that the Plaintiff's trade mark ISKCON has acquired immense and long-standing reputation and goodwill throughout India and abroad. There can be no doubt that the trade mark ISKCON is associated with the Plaintiff and no one else."
Furthermore, the Court said-
"In view of the above, I have no doubt in my mind that the Plaintiff's trademark ISKCON has come to enjoy a personality that is beyond the mere products/services rendered thereunder and the recognition, reputation and goodwill of the said trade mark ISKCON is today no longer restricted to any particular class of goods or services.
From the material placed on record, it is evident that -
(a) the Plaintiff's trademark ISKCON has wide acceptability;
(b) the popularity of the Plaintiff' s trademark ISKCON extends not only in India but in other countries as well;
(c) the Plaintiff is using its trade mark ISKCON openly, widely and continuously since the beginning; and
(d) the Plaintiff has taken several actions against various infringers in the past.
I am therefore of the opinion that Plaintiff's trade mark ISKCON satisfies the requirements and tests of a well-known trade mark as contained in Sections 11(6), 11(7) and other provisions of the Trade Marks Act, 1999."
Thus, Court held the Plaintiff's trademark ISKCON is a 'well-known' trade mark in India within the meaning provided in Sections 2 (1)(zg) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 and decreed the suit.
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