BY – Nabonita Talukdar
Arudra Engineering, the plaintiff of the matter, is a private limited company registered under the erstwhile Company Act, 1956. This company is involved in the cleaning and manufacturing of polymeric epoxies and is associated with different factories in countries like India, Singapore, Srilanka, Oman, Vietnam, and many others. The plaintiff uses a registered trademarked product ‘Coronil-92 B’ and ‘Coronil-213 SPL’ for their cleaning purposes and extends the copyright from time to time. As the name suggests, the job done by this chemical in liquid form to prevent corrosion as well as depreciation from industrial equipment and the same is used by giant companies like BHEL, NTPC Ltd, Indian Oil Corporation, and many more in the list.
Patanjali Ayurveda, the defendant to the matter has introduced an immunity booster, which claims to cure Covid-19 by treating cough and cold and the name of the product given by them is ‘CORONIL’.
The issue that arose in this matter surrounds section 29 (4) of the Trademark Act.
From this section, two main issues came up,
- If the plaintiff could be protected as per section 29(4) of the Trademark Act, 1999 for their trademark registered name ‘CORONIL’.
- Can the name if used by some other organizations like Patanjali will infringe the trademark rights of the plaintiff even if the purpose and working of products are entirely different.
The reasoning of the court:
The usage of the same word as in this case ‘Coronil’ will confuse the consumers and will be detrimental for the distinctive aspect of what the plaintiff is in business for. For this matter, the Madras High Court relied on the matter Rhizome Distilleries Private Limited v. Union of India (2012). In this case, the plaintiff, owner of a trademark registered company ‘Imperial Blue’ applied for ‘Rhizome’s Imperial Gold’ before ‘Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB)’. The board stated that such is in contravention to section 11 of the Trademark Act and is thus an ‘anti-dissection rule’. It was ordered that the defendant and plaintiff have to file for separate trademarks so as not to fall under the ambit of infringement as per the act. It was also noted that as two organizations will deal with an absolutely different class of product and thus it should never confuse the targeted class of consumers.
The Madras High Court on order dated 17/07/2020 granted an order of interim injunction with and further keeping in mind the fact that how much two identical names of different products can confuse the consumers, the court insisted to execute the same with cost. The court stressed the fact that using identical names in this emergency time of pandemic may prove to be fatal and that the defendant is ordered to pay an amount of 5 lakhs ‘jointly to the Dean, Adyar Cancer Institute, East Canal Bank Road, Adyar, Chennai. Further, the court also insisted that another 5 lakhs be paid ‘jointly by the defendants to Government of Yoga and Naturopathy Medical College & Hospital, Arunbakkam, Chennai’. Later Justice CV Karthikeyan has set aside the order passed by the division bench holding that there are no prima-facie cases of infringement against Patanjali Ayurveda.