In a significant legal development, the Delhi High Court’s division bench, presided over by Justice Yashwant Varma, has overturned a prior judgement issued by a single judge. The earlier ruling had compelled Dabur Ltd to halt the sale of its ‘Cool King Thanda Tel’ hair oil due to allegations of trademark infringement filed by Emami India concerning their renowned ‘Navratna’ hair oil product.
The original verdict, delivered by Justice C. Hari Shankar just a month ago, had granted partial interim relief to Emami, asserting that Dabur had deliberately copied the core attributes of Emami India’s Navratna hair oil in an attempt to seize the market that Emami had cultivated since 1989.
Justice Shankar’s pronouncement had emphasised the striking similarities between the two products, stating, ‘ It is prima facie apparent, in my considered opinion, that the defendant (Dabur) has consciously imitated nearly every essential and distinctive feature of the plaintiff’s (Emami) product, apparently to capitalise on the goodwill and reputation earned by the plaintiff’s product over a period of time.’ The judge noted that the variations in shape were so subtle that they would likely go unnoticed by an average consumer.
However, this recent ruling by the division bench, led by Justice Yashwant Varma, has set aside Justice Shankar’s order, allowing Dabur Ltd to continue selling its ‘Cool King Thanda Tel’ hair oil. The decision has thrown a lifeline to Dabur in the ongoing legal battle over alleged trademark infringement, highlighting the complexity and nuances of intellectual property disputes in the consumer goods industry.
Our trademark experts stress the need for businesses to establish distinctive trademarks to avert potential infringement issues. They emphasise the delicate balance between market competition and imitation, highlighting the courts’ crucial role in scrutinising disputes. Intellectual property protection, including trademark registration, is advised to safeguard assets, and experts underline the role of market reputation and consumer perception in trademark disputes, encouraging businesses to navigate trademark law intricacies to protect their valuable brands.
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