Reckitt Benckiser India Ltd. and Anr. v. Dabur India Ltd.;
31.10.2014 (Delhi High Court)
In 2006, Plaintiff started using the ‘FIREMAN DEVICE’ to market their product GAVISCON (Drug for heart burn and gastr-oesophagal disease).
Defendant came out with an ad of Pudin Hara which also had FIREMAN elements.
Plaintiff filed a suit for infringement of trademark, copyright and passing off in the ‘FIREMAN DEVICE’.
On Infringement of Trade Mark – No Infringement. What forms the subject matter of the registration is the representation of the device of man simpliciter standing in posture wearing hat and not the firemen performing some extinguishing activities. Defendant’s two/three men are not even visible but the said men or characters are performing fire extinguishing activity are prima facie apparently distinctively represented if one merely compares them with the representation forming subject matter of the registration.
On Passing Off – The Court did not any spill over reputation of the ‘FIREMAN DEVICE’ of the Plaintiff. Neither, did the Court found any misrepresentation on part of the Defendant. Therefore, no case for passing off was made out.
On Infringement of Copyright – The inference as to copying cannot be inferred by way of commonality in the plot as always some similarities are bound to occur at places like in an advertisement of antacid or drug curing acidity, there is bound to be a representation of person having stomach ache or acidity problem prior to eating or after eating. Likewise, the extinguishment of heartburn or fire is an idea, the plaintiffs may have their way of presenting the idea and the defendant has modified its way of presenting the same prima facie, it is not possible to hold that there exists a copyright infringement.