Section 22 of Companies Act v scope of passing off

By Amaya Singh, Lex Orbis IP Practice
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Section 22 of the Companies Act, 1956, provides a remedy in terms of rectification of the name of a company which “too nearly resembles” the name of an already registered company or a registered trademark. A recent order passed by Delhi High Court in cGMP Pharmaplan Pvt Ltd v Regional Director, Ministry of Corporate Affairs deliberates on the powers of the central government under this section.

In it the court held that the jurisdiction of a civil court, while determining whether one name is confusingly or deceptively similar to another name in a passing off action, is distinct and independent of the jurisdiction of the central government in respect of registering of a company’s name. In passing this order the court upheld its earlier decision in Montari Overseas Limited v Montari Industries Limited.

Amaya Singh Lex Orbis IP Practice
Amaya Singh
Lex Orbis IP Practice

Facts of the case

NNE Pharmaplan India, the second respondent in the present writ petition, was incorporated in 1987 under the name of Pharmaplan (India) Limited. Its main business objective was to provide services as technical and industrial consultants and engineers, specifically planning, consulting, engineering, and supplying plant and equipment to the pharmaceutical, bio-technology, medical devices and health care industries. In 2008 the company changed its name to NNE Pharmaplan India.

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Amaya Singh is a trademark attorney, specializing in the prosecution of trademark applications and oppositions. As trademarks coordinator at Lex Orbis, she has handled trademarks prosecutions, assignments, renewals and oppositions. She is also well versed with prosecuting trademark applications globally.

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