Physical presence of your goods or services is not required to protect your trademark in India

raja-pannir-selvam-50x50The case of trademark infringement and passing off was filed by EASYGROUP IP LICENSING LIMITED (the plaintiff) in respect of the alleged infringement and passing off by Easyjet Aviation Services Pvt Ltd. (the defendant).

The plaintiff is a company offering air travel services primarily in Europe and the United Kingdom. They do not operate or fly on any routes in India. However, they own the trademark “easyJet” registered in India in respect of transportation of goods, passenger and travellers by air; airline and shipping services; airport check in service; chartering of aircraft; rental and hire of aircraft etc. under class 39.

The defendant is engaged in facilitating air charters, air craft management as well as buying and selling of aircrafts as middlemen. This case was decided ex-parte in favour of the plaintiff the Court reiterated on a few established principles.

Physical presence of the goods/services bearing/under the trademark in India is not required to claim use of your trademark in India.

a)     Web traffic/access to your goods/services or business generated through your website amounts to usage of the mark in India.

The plaintiff was able to prove that many Indians have used its services while travelling abroad by booking tickets using its websites and In addition the travellers also booked tickets on the plaintiff’s airline using Indian Online Travel portals. The plaintiff was also able to establish that they have customers in India and a strong reputation in India. The plaintiff showed that the website had received about 3 lakh visitors from India between May 1, 2008 and January 07, 2010. Further the website quotes were given in INR for the convenience of the Indian customers. A total of 28000 bookings were made from India during this period.

b) Paper publications/advertisements/articles on leading Indian/international publications about your goods/services amounts to usage of the mark in India.

The trademark “easyJet” was featured in several leading Indian publications such as “The Times of India”, “The Hindu” and “The Hindustan Times” and international magazines such as TIME, FORBES, ECONOMIST etc which are freely available in India. Additionally several Management Research Centers have studied the business model and operations of the plaintiff and have authored reports and case studies on the same.

The plaintiff successfully established evidence of use of the trademark easyJet in India.


Author: Raja Selvam
Selvam and Selvam

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