Some recent “not-so-usual” judgments of High Courts!

Burger King comes to India.  The US-based fast food chain has finally arrived in India and has aggressive expansion plans!  The chain’s advent was marked by a judgment of the Delhi High Court in which the court ordered a status quo on all legal proceedings against Burger King. The fast food giant is in the midst of a trade mark dispute in India.  Apprehending that the defendants in the dispute could endanger its India launch by getting a stay on the launch, Burger King approached the Delhi High Court for an order to restrain the defendants in the pending trademark infringement suit from approaching lower courts for stay orders against its launch and all the disputes surrounding its trademark should be brought only in the Delhi High Court, where the case is pending. The Delhi High Court granted a stay.

In another case, Red Chillies Entertainments Private Limited, a film production company owned by India’s biggest movie star, Shah Rukh Khan, obtained a John Doe order from the Bombay High Court restraining any person from “telecasting /broadcasting /distributing /putting on the cable TV network /disseminating /reproducing or otherwise making available to the public, Khan’s latest blockbuster, Happy New Year (Red Chillies Entertainments Private Limited v. Hathway Cable Datacom Limited, SUIT (L) No. 933 of 2014) Order . Red Chillies had approached the Bombay High Court apprehending that simultaneously with the film’s release, piratical copies of the film would be rampant.

The Delhi High Court granted a John Doe order to SanDisk Corporation, the world’s largest provider of flash memory storage devices under the name SanDisk.  By way of background, SanDisk had contented that,certain unknown persons were initially selling counterfeit products under the SANDISK mark from Daryaganj, Old Delhi.  After SandDisk obtained an injunction, these persons started selling counterfeits at temporary Sunday markets at Daryaganj, Old Delhi. However, SanDisk contented that it was impossible to identify the names of such persons as they were majorly impermanent operators, who sold counterfeit products and thereafter vanished to avoid the orders of injunction (M/S SanDisk Corporation v. John Doe/s CS(OS) 3205/2014) .

High Courts in India continue to decide cases that further the interests of brand owners.  The two John Doe cases discussed above are noteworthy because they demonstrate the courts’ attempts to tackle the widespread issue of counterfeiting in India.  The Burger King decision is important because it demonstrates the willingness of the Delhi High Court to grant an injunction on the basis of an allegation of worldwide reputation and goodwill of its brand.