Atlantic Industries & Ors. v. Simron Food Processors Pvt. Ltd.
CS(OS) No. 2185 of 2011
Date of Decision: 26.05.2014
The Plaintiff No.1, a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the Cayman Islands, incorporated in the year 1979, was a wholly owned subsidiary of the Coca Cola Company, which is an internationally renowned global company in the beverages industry.
Plaintiffs had filed the present suit for injunction and damages for infringement of their registered trademark, passing off and for infringement of copyright while alleging that the Defendant has adopted and is misusing their trademark SCHWEPPES (word) and SCHWEPPES (stylized logo) owned by the Plaintiff No.1 and has also copied the SCHWEPPES trade dress as used by the Plaintiffs which comprises of SCHWEPPES written in a stylized manner with a unique colour combination consisting of the colours silver and yellow.
Summons were issued in the suit and an interim injunction was granted against the Defendant. Counsel for the defendant had entered appearance. The Defendant submitted that the Defendant had already stopped using the trademark of Plaintiffs and has no intention to use the same in future. The parties also sought time to file an application for recording compromise but the counsel for the Defendant was not able to get the compromise application signed from the Defendant as the Defendant stopped responding to his counsel and consequently, counsel sought and was discharged from appearing in the matter. The Defendant was proceeded ex-parte.
The court, after examining the evidence placed on record by the Plaintiff, concluded that the Plaintiffs established that Plaintiff no. 1 is the owner of the trademark, logo SCHWEPPES and its allied trademarks and are also copyright owner of the artistic work in SCHWEPPES label. Therefore, by virtue of the same, the Plaintiffs have the exclusive right to use the said mark and logo. Plaintiffs also established that on account of enormous amount spent on advertisement of brand SCHWEPPES in India, Plaintiffs were able to generate vast turnover for years that helped them build up an unparalleled reputation and goodwill with respect to their trademark. Plaintiffs established that the Defendant had adopted the mark and was using the trademark SCHWEPPES and had also copied the SCHWEPPES written in a stylized manner with a fountain device and a unique colour combination consisting of the colours silver and yellow and that said acts of the Defendant amounted to infringement of their registered trademarks SCHWEPPES (word) and SCHWEPPES (stylized logo along with fountain device) and also infringement of the copyright in the SCHWEPPES label and passing off their goods as the goods of the plaintiff.
The Plaintiffs were entitled to a decree of permanent injunction against the Defendant from dealing with the goods bearing the infringing mark.
The Plaintiffs were also held entitled to damages to the tune of Rs 2 Lakh.
It was held that anyone who chooses to stay away from the proceedings of the Court, should not be permitted to enjoy the benefits of evasion of court proceedings. Any view to the contrary would result in a situation where a Defendant who appears in Court and submits its account books would be liable for damages, while another Defendant who, chooses to stay away from court proceedings would escape the liability on account of failure of the availability of account books. A party who chooses not to participate in court proceedings and stays away must, thus, suffer the consequences of damages as stated and set out by the Plaintiffs. There is a larger public purpose involved to discourage such parties from indulging in such acts of deception and, thus, even if the same has a punitive element, it must be granted.
Author: Gayatri Aryan