claim of exclusive right to trade mark in common use.

Trade Mark MALABAR in public domain.

The appellant though claims exclusive right over the word ‘MALABAR’ since there is a disclaimer to the exclusive use of the word ‘MALABAR’, the appellant has no right over the exclusive use of the word ‘MALABAR’. The respondents have also inter alia brought on record the materials to show the registration of other goods under Class-30 with the word ‘MALABAR MONSOON’ granted in favour of Amalgamated Bean Coffee Trading Company Limited for Coffee Cream, Coffee included in Class-30. The registration of the mark ‘MALABAR MONSOON’ under Class-30 also contains similar disclaimer of the word ‘MALABAR’. Likewise, the label ‘MALABAR COAST’ has been registered in Class-30 for Coffee, Tea, Cocoa, Sugar etc. in favour of Tropical Retreats Private Limited which again contains a similar disclaimer for the exclusive use of the word ‘MALABAR COAST’. Having regard to the materials placed on record, we are of the view that the High Court rightly held that the appellant cannot claim exclusive right over the use of the word ‘MALABAR’.

Dissimilarity in marks

Insofar as the label mark used by the parties, we have perused the label mark of the appellant selling Biryani Rice with word ‘MALABAR’ and also the modified label mark of the respondents. The label of the respondents containing the words “BAROMA”, “MALABAR”, “GOLD” are circled having a different get-up from that of the appellant. By comparison of the two label marks, in our view, both appear to be substantially different. There appears to be no similarity between both the labels, more so, deceptive similarity. Keeping in view the interest of the respective parties who are said to be having substantial turn-over in their respective business, the High Court rightly held that the respondents would be entitled to use the word ‘MALABAR’ in conjunction with ‘BAROMA’ with the different get-up as approved by the High Court. We do not find any serious infirmity warranting interference with the impugned order.

Having regard to the various contentions raised by the parties, the High Court rightly held that subject to the outcome of the suit, the respondent can pursue their application for registration of the device. Both parties have inter alia raised various contentions. Since the suit and the respondent’s application for registration of its label with the marks thereon under Class-30 is pending, we are not inclined to go into the merits of those contentions. Lest, it would prejudicially affect the rights of the parties in the pending suit and proceedings.

[Source: Parikh Vanijya (P) Ltd. vs. Baroma Agro Products, decided by SC on July 12, 2018]
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