The Delhi High Court (“Delhi HC”) in the case of Tata SIA Airlines Limited v. M/s. Pilot Aviation Book Store & Others decided on granting permanent injunction against violation of the trademark “VISTARA”.
Tata SIA Airlines Limited (“Tata”) operates a full-service airline in the name “VISTARA” (“Trademark”). The airline is popular in the Indian market and the Trademark ‘VISTARA’ has been used by Tata since 2014. The use of the Trademark, as part of the airline services includes usage on the various merchandise, uniforms, name tags, badges and other accessories which are worn by airline staff.
In the suit filed by Tata, it was alleged that M/s. Pilot Aviation Book Store (“Pilot Aviation”) sold badges, name tags and other accessories including mugs, baggage tags, etc. bearing identical Trademark through its own website and through e-commerce portals such as Amazon and Snapdeal. It was also alleged that Pilot Aviation claimed that they were supplying such products to Tata, which was later discovered to be untrue.
Pilot Aviation in its reply to the suit stated that it never sold any product bearing the Trademark. However, the investigation revealed that Pilot Aviation was selling a high quantity of goods bearing the Trademark. Also, Pilot Aviation was selling products bearing trademarks of various other airlines including Jet Airways, Spice Jet and Air India.
Delhi HC noted that selling such products posed a serious threat to the security of airports, as, any person could seek unauthorized entry into airports on the basis of the counterfeit badges, labels, uniforms and other merchandise illegally bearing the trademarks of these airlines.
The Delhi HC in its judgement held that the reply submitted by Pilot Aviation was not only false, but, was a misrepresentation to the court; it was a clear case of infringement of the ‘VISTARA’ Trademark. The Delhi HC allowed a permanent injunction and also directed Pilot Aviation to pay INR 2 lakhs to Tata as damages. Delhi HC declared the Trademark as a ‘well-known mark’ on the basis of its popularity in India, its goodwill, reputation and unique status in the industry.
This judgment rightly recognized the threat posed by counterfeit airline company products. The judgment not only addressed the trademark infringement but also highlighted the serious consequences of such infringement.
Disclaimer: This post has been prepared for informational purposes only. The information/or observations contained in this post does not constitute legal advice and should not be acted upon in any specific situation without seeking proper legal advice from a practicing attorney.