The Court explained that trademark in respect of ‘certain goods’ among a class of goods does not cover all the goods of the same class.
Mittal Electronics (Plaintiff) sought an injunction to prevent the Defendants from dealing under the trademark ‘Star SUJATA’ or ‘SUJATA’. The Plaintiff found their trademark to be identical and similar.
The Delhi High Court had passed an ad-interim injunction in February and ordered reports from the Local Commissioners.
The Plaintiff adopted the trademark ‘SUJATA’ in the year 1980 after which their business was expanded to electrical goods and home appliances. From 1991 to 2018, the Plaintiff owned the registered trademark ‘SUJATA.’ It has had huge sales under the trademark and also spends a large amount on its advertising.
They stated that both parties used the same trademark for the sale of home and kitchen appliances and that the products are used by the same consumers and are sold through the same outlet.
Mr Kumar has had a proprietorship firm, Luxmi Enterprises since 2008. Defendant No. 1, the company Sujata Home Appliances, was formed to expand his business. It was incorporated with his relatives as Director, but later he also became one of the Directors.
Sujata Home Appliances entered into a license agreement with Luxmi Enterprises. In the application for the registration of Sujata Home Appliances, Mr Kumar stated that he was the user of the trademark ‘SUJATA’ since 2008 for water purifiers. He had been granted trademark registration of ‘SUJATA’ in 2012 for the manufacture and sale of water purifiers, RO system, and water filters.
The fact that defendant No. 1 is the prior user of the mark ‘SUJATA’ with respect to Water Purifiers, RO Systems, and Water Filters was concealed from the Court in earlier proceedings.
The defendant, therefore, sought modification of the injunction order against water purifiers, water filters, and RO systems alone and not in respect of all other goods.
The Plaintiff’s registration of the trademark ‘SUJATA’, which includes water filters, water purifiers, and RO systems was after that of the Defendant.
The Bench noted that in the past several years, there has not been any proof of confusion in the customers about the Plaintiff’s and Defendant’s products.
For the goods water filters, water purifiers, and RO System, Mr Kumar is the licensor as the Director of Defendant No.1 is the prior registered owner and only user of the mark SUJATA. The plaintiff, till date, has not used the mark ‘SUJATA’ for water filters, water purifiers, and RO system. The goods of the plaintiff and defendant fall in the same broad classification of home appliances. But they are different goods used for different purposes.
The Court ruled that the defendants can continue to manufacture and sell under the trademark ‘SUJATA’.
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