PRESTIGE HOUSEWARES LTD Vs. DINESH GUPTA
LAWS(DLH)-2007-1-47
HIGH COURT OF DELHI
Decided on January 29,2007

PRESTIGE HOUSEWARES LTD. Appellant
VERSUS
DINESH GUPTA Respondents

JUDGEMENT

SHIV NARAYAN DHINGRA, J. - (1.) Plaintiff claimed to be a manufacturer of prestige pressure cookers, Kiwi Shoe Polish, Kohinoor contraceptives and paper products running its business activities as TTK Group of Companies. The trademark PRESTIGE was registered in India initially in favour of Prestige Group Ltd, UK on 14th December, 1949 for non electric cooking and kitchen utensils in Class 21. This trademark was assigned in favour of the plaintiffs vide a deed of Assignment on 4th October, 1985. Thus, plaintiff Nos. 1 and 2 became owners of the trademark and were using this trademark "PRESTIGE" for manufacturing and selling pressure cookers in India. They were also marketing the pressure cookers and parts thereof, such as rubber gaskets/seals, metallic safety valves, vent weight valves, handles, etc. in a distinctive, unique and artistic polythene pouch/packaging. Plaintiff claimed to be the owner of copyright in the pouching/packaging materials which, according to the plaintiff, were original artistic work( within the meaning of Section 2(c) of the Copyright Act, 1957) created by the officers of the plaintiff. The plaintiff received information that defendant No.1 proprietor of defendant No.2 were engaged in the business of printing, manufacturing and marketing of counterfeit PRESTIGE pouches as were used by the plaintiffs for marketing their pressure cooker parts. The defendants were carrying on their unlawful activities in a clandestine manner and were basically fly by night operators who were flooding the market with such counterfeit pouches. The pouches were being supplied to and used by manufacturers of counterfeit pressure cooker parts, who passed off spurious and sub-standard cooker parts as genuine merchandise and pressure cooker parts of plaintiff. It was submitted that the defendant were not only printing their counterfeit pouching but also packaging and marketing pressure cooker parts packed in such pouches to retailers in and outside Delhi. On coming to know these activities of defendant, plaintiff engaged an independent trademark investigator Mr. R.K. Sharma and Mr. Sharma found defendants to be in possession of cylinders and dies used for printing the counterfeit pouches. Mr. Sharma represented himself as a decoy purchaser and defendant supplied him one thousand pieces of counterfeit PRESTIGE pouches for a sum of Rs.2,500/- on 5th December, 2000 in presence of Mr. Dasa Ram, Notary Public. The pouches so purchased were in custody of the plaintiff and could be produced in the Court, however, sample pouches have been filed. The printing and manufacturing of these pouches amounted to infringement of copyright and trademark of the plaintiff. The pouches being manufactured by defendant were identical to the genuine PRESTIGE pressure cooker part pouches and were bound to cause confusion and deception on the members of public. The conduct of the defendant was fraudulent and amounted to passing off, infringement of trademark and copyright of the plaintiff. The conduct was also deemed to cause damage to the goodwill and reputation of the plaintiff and defendants desired to trading upon the goodwill and reputation of the plaintiff. The sub-standard and poor quality of said parts marketed by scrupulous vendors, using the pouches manufactured by defendants, could lead to fatal consequence for the consumers by food poisoning as it is the steam pressure inside the cooker which enables the food to cook faster. A defective, sub-standard or poor quality of spare part may also lead to bursting of the cooker. The Plaintiffs submitted that they have no information of quantum of sales of the counterfeit pouches or spare parts under the trademark PRESTIGE by the defendants, so prayed that the Court should direct the defendants to render a true and faithful accounts of profits made by them and pay over to the plaintiffs the same. The plaintiffs also prayed for passing a decree of permanent injunction restraining infringement of trademark, copyright and restraining passing off, of the goods of the defendants as that of the plaintiffs and for passing a decree for delivery of articles and for rendition of accounts.
(2.) The defendants in their written statement denied that they were carrying on any unlawful activities and also denied that the defendants dealt in printing counterfeit PRESTIGE pouches. It is stated that the defendants did not have the printing machine meant for printing of pouches, which are normally printed on a rotogravier printing machine. The defendant had a small printing press using the flexo printing process. The defendants were incapable of manufacturing or supplying the counterfeit pouches. It was further submitted that the defendants had a machine for making 'Dana' from waste polythene materials and that the defendants purchased waste polythene in which sometimes used/waste pouches of other packing units comes as a waste polythene packets. It was further submitted that the Local Commissioner visited the premises but found only a small flexo machine which cannot manufacture the pouches. The defendants were doing the job work of printing for the customers and they were not printing anything of their own nor marketing or selling any pouches. The defendants did not indulge into any illegal trade activities etc.
(3.) On 10th October, 2006, learned counsel for defendants made a statement in the Court that they would not print on any packaging materials having a pasting similar to that pasting as reflected in the documents filed by plaintiff showing their trademark and copyright. In view of this statement, this Court decreed the suit of the plaintiff as far as following prayers were concerned: "a) A decree for permanent injunction restraining the defendants, their partners or proprietor as the case may be, their assigns in the business, servants and agents, from manufacturing, printing, marketing, offering for sale, using, advertising, directly or indirectly dealing in impugned PRESTIGE pouches/packaging of pressure cooker parts or any other pouch or packaging as may be a colourable and slavish imitation or substantial reproduction of PRESTIGE pressure cooker parts packaging/pouching of the plaintiff, in respect of colour combination, get up, lay out and arrangement of features, amounting to infringement of copyright of plaintiff therein including copyright registration No.A-56776/99. b) A decree for permanent injunction restraining the defendants, their partners or proprietor as the case may be, their assigns in business, servants and agents, from manufacturing, printing, marketing, offering for sale, advertising, directly or indirectly dealing in impugned pouches/packaging bearing the trade mark PRESTIGE in relation to pressure cooker parts or any other trademark as may be deceptively similar to the trademark 'PRESTIGE' of the plaintiffs amounting to infringement of trademark registration No.141602. c) A decree for permanent injunction restraining the defendants, their partners or proprietor as the case may be, their assigns in business, servants and agents, from manufacturing, printing, marketing, offering for sale, advertising, directly or indirectly dealing in the impugned pouch/packaging under the impugned trademark PRESTIGE in relation to pressure cooker parts or any other mark or pouch/packaging as may be deceptively similar with the trademark as may be likely to lead to confusion or deception amounting to passing off of the defendants' goods/business for those of the plaintiff. d) A decree for delivery up of the infringing goods of the defendants including impugned packaging, articles, stationary, Dies and blocks, etc. bearing the trademark PRESTIGE, to an authorized representative of the plaintiff for destruction/erasure.;


Click here to view full judgement.
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.