In an interim relief to country liquor manufacturer Brihan Karan Sugar Syndicate Private Limited (BKSSPL), the Bombay high court has restrained its rival South Konkan Distilleries (SKD) from using its trademark 'Tango'. The court observed that prima facie there was trademark violation by SKD.
Justice SJ Kathawalla restrained SKD from using the trademark and kept the BKSSPL suit for hearing on May 23.
Shivdas Naik, chairman of SKD, was present in the court and sought time to file his company's reply.
BKSSPL's predecessor, one Brihan-Maharashtra Sugar Syndicate Limited, had on October 10, 2001, obtained registration of its trade mark label 'Tango Punch' used in respect of country liquor having orange flavour.
The same was transferred to BKSSPL June 9, 2008.
Himanshu Kane, BKSSPL's counsel, argued that they have been continuously, openly and extensively using the said trade mark in respect of its said goods. Also, they have taken efforts to popularise it and has expended substantial sums of money on sales promotional expenses, claimed BKSSPL.
BKSSPL even submitted its annual sales and sales promotional expenses in respect Tango since 2008.
In 2001, it was decided to emboss its trademark word Tango (written in Devanagri script) on the bottles used by it to pack and sell its country liquor.
Since then the country liquor is being sold in the bottles embossed with the said trade mark, argued Kane.
BKSSPL has alleged that SKD, which is also a manufacturer and seller of country liquor, has been selling its country liquor in the bottles embossed with the plaintiff's trademark Tango.
Kane even alleged that it appeared that SKD is procuring BKSSPL's empty bottles from the secondary market and using them to bottle and sell its own country liquor in them.
This amounts to infringement of BKSSPL's registered trademark by SKD and passing off its (SKD's) goods as BKSSPL's goods, argued Kane.
After going through the photographs of BKSSPL's and SKD's Tango label, Justice Kathawalla observed: "The identity/deceptive similarity between the rival marks/bottles is patent. It appears that the defendant (SKD) is in fact using the plaintiff's (BKSSPL) bottles embossed with the plaintiff's registered trademark Tango to its bottles and selling its own country liquor."
Granting interim restrain on the sale of SKD's Tango, Justice Kathawalla observed: "In the circumstances, the plaintiff (BKSSPL) has made out a strong prima facie case for grant of reliefs for infringement of trademarks and unless the reliefs are granted the plaintiff is likely to suffer irreparable injury."