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Delhi High Court Imposes ₹20 Lakhs Cost On Chinese Online Seller For Infringing Vistara Airlines' Trademark By Sale Of Identical Baggage Tags

Nupur Thapliyal
2 Sep 2022 4:45 AM GMT
Delhi High Court Imposes ₹20 Lakhs Cost On Chinese Online Seller For Infringing Vistara Airlines Trademark By Sale Of Identical Baggage Tags
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The Delhi High Court has awarded Rs. 20 lakhs in favour of Vistara Airlines in its trademark infringement suit filed against a company selling identical keychains and baggage tags, in the same aubergine and gold colour combination, on a Chinese e-commerce platform AliExpress. It was Vistara's case that despite the e-commerce platform being based mostly in China, the website contained...

The Delhi High Court has awarded Rs. 20 lakhs in favour of Vistara Airlines in its trademark infringement suit filed against a company selling identical keychains and baggage tags, in the same aubergine and gold colour combination, on a Chinese e-commerce platform AliExpress.

It was Vistara's case that despite the e-commerce platform being based mostly in China, the website contained several listings by the seller baggage tags and keychains bearing the 'VISTARA Marks' in the identical color combination without its authorisation which were also eligible for shipping to India.

Justice Navin Chawla observed that the use of the "VISTARA Marks" not only amounted to infringement and passing off but would cause dilution of the mark.

"It is also likely to cause deception and confusion in the mind of the unwary consumer," the Court added.

Vistara has been issuing baggage tags to its crew members bearing 'VISTARA Marks'. It is also the registered proprietor of the 'VISTARA Marks' in several classes in India.

Justice Chawla was of the view that Vistara's apprehension of national as also international security concerns at airports by mala fide usage of the baggage tags and keychains being offered for sale by the defendant seller prima facie was valid in nature.

"Airports are an incredibly critical junction of not only travel but also of trade and commerce; any lapse in security, especially by permitting the sale of vagrantly-infringing goods, would be turning a blind eye to obvious wrongdoings of the defendant," the Court added.

In September 2020, an ex-parte ad-interim injunction was granted in Vistara's favour restraining the defendant seller from manufacturing or selling baggage tags or keychains under the impugned trade mark. The same was made absolute vide order dated December 18, 2020 until final disposal.

In this backdrop, the Court opined that in cases where the defendant, in spite of being served with an injunction order, chooses not to contest the suit, the same fortifies that it is indulging in activities complained of by the plaintiff in the plaint.

Considering the fact that Vistara was the registered proprietor of the 'VISTARA Marks' and there was no appearance for the defendant seller, the Court opined that the seller had no justification for the adoption of an identical trade mark for sale of the goods in question.

"In view of the above, the plaintiff is held entitled to a decree in its favour in terms of prayers made in paragraph 37 (a) to (c) and (e) against the defendant," the Court said.

It accordingly ordered "Keeping in view the above as also the object and mandate of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015; the Delhi High Court (Original Side) Rules, 2018; and the Delhi High Court Intellectual Property Division Rules, 2022, the plaintiff is held entitled to damages and costs quantified at Rs. 20 Lakh (Rupees Twenty Lakh only)."

The suit was accordingly disposed of.

Case Title: TATA SIA AIRLINES LIMITED v. SHENZHEN COLOURSPLENDOUR GIFT CO LTD & ANR.

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 828

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