The Supreme Court Today Restrained Educational Institutes From Using The ‘DPS’ Trademark Of The Delhi Public School

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Delhi High Court, in an interim order, has restrained DPS World Foundation from using the registered mark/name “DPS” or any other mark identical or deceptively similar to the registered mark of the plaintiff Delhi Public School, amounting to infringement and passing off the plaintiff’s registered trademark till the disposal of this suit. Delhi Public School had filed an application in Delhi High Court praying for restraining the DPS World Foundation from using the mark “DPS”.

Bench

A three-judge bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, R Banumathi and Navin Sinha said the division bench of the Delhi High Court was not correct in permitting the DPS World Foundation to use the words ‘Delhi Public School’.

“Having regard to the fact that the mark/name/words ‘DPS’ is registered in favor of the petitioner in Class 42 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999, and the words ‘Delhi Public School’ has also been registered during the pendency of the proceedings before the single judge and the logo is also registered.

“We are of the view that at this stage all that would be appropriate to be recorded in the present order is that the division bench of the high court was not correct in permitting the defendants to use the words ‘Delhi Public School’. We accordingly restrain them from using the mark ‘DPS’ or ‘Delhi Public School’ or the logo,” the bench said. The apex court, however, made it clear that the observation should be understood to be confined for the purpose of grant of interim relief and will not affect the trial of the suit.

The high court had last year restrained the institute from using the ‘DPS’ trademark of Delhi Public School. It, however, had said that since the name ‘Delhi Public School’ is not registered as a trademark that can be used by DPS World Foundation. The order had come on a plea by DPS World against a single judge’s order restraining them from using the DPS trademark and its crests.

The order by the division bench came on a plea by DPS World Foundation, which had challenged the single judge’s April 18, 2016, interim order restraining the foundation, schools floated by a group of DPS alumni, from using the name ‘DPS’ saying it would amount to trademark infringement of DPS Society.

The single judge order had come on a suit filed by DPS Society against the use of words “DPS World” by the foundation, claiming that the defendants had misappropriated the name and distinctive crest with a firelight held in a hand inside a shield, which had been used by the DPS schools since 1948.

The suit, filed in 2015, had stated that the foundation was opening schools using the name DPS World School, which amounted to an infringement of the society’s copyright.

Judgment

The single judge had barred the trustees, members, franchisees, officers, employees, agents, delegates, representatives, associates and all others acting for DPS World Foundation from using or dealing in any manner with the DPS name or crest till the disposal of the suit.

The court further observed “On a prima facie view, based on the documents, orders, this Court is of the view that, the plaintiff has made out a case for interim relief with regard to the usage of the trademark “DPS‟. Further, the balance of convenience is also in favour of the plaintiff.”

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