Years of neglect trigger loss of trademarks

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Bombay High Court recently dismissed an action for infringement of copyright and passing off because the registered owner of two trademarks had done nothing to enforce its rights in India for about 10 years.

Wine_bottles-CMYKRuling in UTO Nederland BV & Distilleerderji en Likeurstokerji Herman Jansen BV v Tilaknagar Industries Ltd, a single judge of the high court said: “The result of the plaintiffs’ conduct during this crucial period is that they permitted the defendant to develop an enormous goodwill and reputation in the business carried on under the said marks.”

The trademarks in question – Mansion House and Savoy Club –were used in India from July 1983 under a licence agreement between UTO, a Dutch producer and distributor of spirits and liquors, which is the registered owner in India of the marks, and Tilaknagar Industries (TI), an Indian producer of alcoholic beverages, spirits and liquors.

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The update of court judgments is compiled by Bhasin & Co, Advocates, a corporate law firm based in New Delhi. The authors can be contacted at lbhasin@bhasinco.in or lbhasin@gmail.com. Readers should not act on the basis of this information without seeking professional legal advice.

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