FAO (OS) (Comm) 169 of 2022
Date of Decision: 4th August, 2022
- Respondent, HTC Corporation was engaged in the business of manufacturing consumer electronic items such as smartphones, mobile phones, personal digital assistant (PDA) devices, virtual reality head – mounted displays etc. Respondent was the registered owner of the mark hTC in India.
- Appellant No. 1 manufactured and sold products such as Hair Clippers and Trimmers under the mark hTC.
- Appellant No. 1 had also applied for registration of the trade mark HTC in class 8.
- Respondent filed a suit against the Appellant and in the application for interim relief, the Learned Single Judge vide an interim order restrained the Appellants from using the mark HTC, till the hearing of the suit.
- The Appellants filed the present appeal before the Division Bench of the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi
Major Contentions of the Appellants:
- Appellant had used the abbreviation HTC as it was manufacturing and dealing with High Tech Clippers.
- Appellants are no longer using the mark hTC and are now using their own registered trade mark HTC.
- Goods sold by the Appellants were not of a category that was entirely different from that of the Respondents. Hair clippers and smartphones were personal appliances and there were entities that were dealing in both such as Panasonic and Samsung.
- Although, Hair Clippers and Trimmers are not identical to Smartphones and Audio VR Sets, both the products are personal appliances and there are outlets which sell both the products. Further, well-known brands such as Panasonic and Samsung have similar products, i.e. smartphones and hair clippers. Thus, there is real possibility of consumers getting confused that the source of the hair clippers sold by the Appellants is the Respondent.
- As far as Appellants’ explanation for using the mark HTC being abbreviation for High Tech Clippers is concerend, there is not a single document on record, which indicates that the Appellants had described the product as High-Tech Clippers. Therefore, it is difficult to accept the contention that Appellants had used HTC as an abbreviation for its product.
- Further, the Respondent’s mark is in a distinctive font, which has been used by the Appellants. The letters ‘h’ and ‘c’ are in lower case and the letter ‘T’ is in upper case. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that the Appellants’ use of the trade mark is not bona fide.
- Appellants may have given up the use of the trade mark hTC but that would not assist the Appellants to counter the prima facie finding that their very adoption of the trade mark hTC was dishonest and with a view to ride on the reputation and goodwill of the Respondents.
The Appeal was dismissed.