Our Associate, Vishesh Kumar discusses “No free ride on EXIDE – The Delhi High Court’s decision in Exide Industries Ltd. v. Krishna International & Ors”
Recently the Delhi High Court, in Exide Industries Ltd. v. Krishna International & Ors., granted an ex-parte ad-interim injunction in favour of the plaintiff restraining the defendants from infringing the ‘EXIDE’ trademark.
The plaintiff, one of India’s largest battery manufacturing and selling company, filed the present matter against the defendants to restrain the defendants from infringing upon the plaintiff’s EXIDE mark. The plaintiff contended that the EXIDE mark had been adopted by its predecessor in the year 1920 with respect to automotive batteries and has been in extensive use ever since. The plaintiff also provided documentary evidence of its registrations in Classes 9 and 11, its expenditure on sales and promotional activities as well as its revenue figures to evidence its extensive use. Further, the plaintiff claimed that such is the popularity of the EXIDE mark that the plaintiff decided to change its name to Exide Industries Ltd.
As per the plaintiff, the defendants, who have been averred as related entities by the plaintiff, are using the EXIDE mark for the manufacture and sale of bulbs, power banks, coolants, engine oils, etc. The plaintiff further claimed that the defendants are selling the infringing products in a packaging identical to that of the plaintiff.
In light of the above, the Delhi High Court held that the plaintiff had established a prima facie case and the balance of convenience was in its favour. Further, the Court stated that the plaintiff would suffer an irreparable loss in case no ex-parte ad-interim injunction is granted in its favour. Accordingly, the Court restrained defendants from using the EXIDE mark or infringing upon the plaintiff’s rights in any manner.
It is important to note here that while goods of the plaintiff and defendant were not identical, the Delhi High Court gave due credence to the identical mark and packaging along with the fact that the plaintiff had been extensively using the EXIDE mark for decades and had invested substantial financial resources for the advertisement and promotion of the mark. Such decisions will act as a deterrent to businesses trying to piggyback upon the goodwill and reputation built by a prior user.