The defence of acquiescence in disputes over trademarks

By Abhigyan Ashok and Aniruddh Singh, LexOrbis
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“Equity aids the vigilant, not those who slumber on their rights” means a person who has been wronged must act promptly to preserve their rights. In the context of IP rights today, this maxim means that owners of intellectual property need to remain on their toes to protect their IP against unauthorized use. Failure to act at the right time may lead to ineffective enforcement of one’s IP rights.

Abhigyan AshokAssociatesexOrbis
Abhigyan Ashok
Associate
LexOrbis

In a recent dispute involving two online travel websites, MakeMyTrip filed a suit against Orbit Corporate & Leisure Travels alleging trademark infringement. Initially, Delhi High Court restrained Orbit from using the mark GetMyTrip but the interim injection was later vacated on the basis of concealment of material facts and of acquiescence.

It is settled law vis-à-vis trademarks that the court may refuse to grant relief to right holders who knowingly stand by without raising any objection to the infringement of their rights, while someone else unknowingly and without prior malice acts in a manner inconsistent with the right holder’s rights.

In the dispute in question, MakeMyTrip alleged that in April 2017 it learned about Orbit’s use of the mark GetMyTrip and Orbit’s website www.getmytrip.com providing services in the identical business. MakeMyTrip alleged that Orbit’s GetMyTrip trademark and logo are deceptively and phonetically similar to the word mark MakeMyTrip, thus infringing MakeMyTrip’s trademark.

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Abhigyan Ashok and Aniruddh Singh are associates at LexOrbis.

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