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Tata Sia Airlines Limited vs M/S Pilot18 Aviation Book Store & Ors. - (High Court of Delhi) (05 Aug 2019)

Permanent injunction shall be granted if pleading in written statement is not only a mis-statement but clearly constitutes mis-representation to the Court

MANU/DE/4107/2019

Intellectual Property Rights

The Plaintiff has filed the present suit seeking permanent injunction, restraining infringement of its registered trademarks, dilution, damages, rendition of account, etc. The Plaintiff is a joint venture of TATA Sons Private Limited (“TATA Sons‟) and Singapore Airlines Limited (“SIA‟). It operates a full-service airlines under the mark "VISTARA" which undertakes almost 800 weekly flights in India to various destinations. The mark "VISTARA" has been used by the Plaintiff since 2014 for airline services. The use of the mark "VISTARA", as part of the airline services includes usage on the various merchandise, uniforms, name tags, badges and other accessories.

The grievance of the Plaintiff in the present suit is that the Defendant No.1 - M/s Pilot18 Aviation Book Store operates an aviation studies portal called www.pilot18.com and Defendant No.2 is believed to be the proprietor of Defendant No.1. The Plaintiff acquired knowledge in February, 2019 of sale of "VISTARA" branded products on the website of the Defendants as also on various e-commerce portals such as Amazon and Snapdeal. A perusal of the website print outs, which have been placed on record, show that the Defendants are offering various badges, name tags and other accessories including mugs, baggage tags, etc., bearing the mark "VISTARA" with an identical device mark/logo form.

It is the case of the Plaintiff that it got an investigation conducted, in which it was revealed that the Defendants are not only offering these products on their website, but also claim that the Defendants were supplying "VISTARA" branded aviation products to Vistara Airlines. It is under these circumstances that the present suit came to be filed and prayers for injunction were sought. This Court, vide order dated 26th March, 2019, restrained the Defendants from manufacturing, selling, offering for sale, or dealing in any manner whatsoever with any "VISTARA" branded products, or any other mark or logo which is identical or deceptively similar to the "VISTARA" mark/logo. The case of the Defendants is that they have not used the trademark 'Vistara‟ and that the Plaintiff has concocted a false story.

A perusal of the statement shows that the plea taken in the written statement was false, i.e., that the Defendants had not used the mark 'VISTARA'. This is a grave misstatement made by the Defendants in the face of the Commissioner's report and in the face of the admission in the statement recorded on 25th July, 2019. Clearly, the Defendants were not just selling products bearing the mark 'VISTARA' but products of various other airlines including Jet Airways, SpiceJet and Air India as well. The sale of so much merchandise with the names of various airlines is not only violative of the trademark rights of the respective parties, including the Plaintiff but also poses a serious threat owing to the fact that some unauthorised persons may try to seek entry into airports etc., on the basis of the counterfeit badges, labels, uniforms and other merchandise illegally bearing the trademarks of these airlines. Such a threat cannot be ignored by this Court in the manner in which it is sought to be done by the Defendants.

This Court is of the opinion that the Defendants are not only liable to be permanently injuncted from using the mark 'VISTARA' but are also liable to pay costs and damages. Further, the incorrect statement made in the written statement also constitutes perjury before this Court. Clearly, the pleading in the written statement is not only a misstatement but clearly constitutes misrepresentation to the Court. Under these circumstances, there shall be permanent injunction restraining the Defendants.

The mark VISTARA is quite popular in India and has acquired a unique status. It is a distinctive mark that enjoys enormous goodwill and reputation in the airline, travel and tourism industry. Use of this mark, even in respect of unrelated services would create confusion and deception. It deserves to be declared as a ‘well-known mark'. The suit is thus decreed.

Tags : MISREPRESENTATION   PERMANENT INJUNCTION   GRANT  

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