‘Rooh Afza’ Trademark : Case Update
On December 21, 2022 the Delhi High Court, in the case of Hamdard National Foundation (India) vs Sadar Laboratories Pvt. Ltd., restrained Sadar Laboratories from manufacturing and selling beverages under the impugned trademark ‘Dil Afza’.
- The court observed that the trademark ‘Rooh Afza’ is prima facie a strong mark requiring a high degree of protection as it has acquired immense goodwill.
- The court said Rooh Afza served as the source identifier for Hamdard for over a century and has acquired immense goodwill and it was essential to ensure that the competitors keep a safe distance from the mark.
- It is not difficult to conceive that a person who looks at the label of ‘DIL AFZA’ may recall the label of ‘ROOH AFZA’ as the word ‘AFZA’ is common and the meaning of the words ‘ROOH’ and ‘DIL’, when translated in English, are commonly used in conjunction.
- Both the products have the “same deep red colour and texture” and “structure of the bottles is not materially different” and thus opined that the “commercial impression of the impugned trademark is deceptively similar to the appellants’ trademark”.
- A trademark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by a business organisation to distinguish its products or services from those of other entities.
- It serves as a badge of origin exclusively identifying a particular business as a source of goods or services.
- Trademark infringement is the unauthorised usage of a sign that is identical or deceptively similar to a registered trademark.
- Strong trademark: A mark is said to be strong when it is well-known and has acquired a high degree of goodwill.
- The degree of the protection of any trademark changes with the strength of the mark; the stronger the mark, the higher the requirement to protect it.