Mattel’s Rainforest Family protected by the Delhi High Court

Our Associate, Vishesh Kumar discusses “Mattel’s Rainforest Family protected by the Delhi High Court”

Recently the Delhi High Court, in Mattel Inc. v. Present Enterprises & Ors., granted an injunction in favour of the plaintiff restraining the defendants from infringing the copyright in characters of the ‘Rainforest Family’, a set of six animal cartoon characters created by the plaintiff.

The plaintiff, one of the world’s largest children entertainment company, contended that it adopted the mark KICK AND PLAY for game and playthings in the year 2010 and started using the said trademark in India since 2012. It was further argued that, in the year 2012, the plaintiff also designed and adopted a set of six cartoon animal characters titled as ‘Rainforest Family’.

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Furthermore, in support of its contentions, the plaintiff also presented promotional activities undertaken by it along with its trademark applications for the KICK AND PLAY mark.

As per the plaintiff, the defendants are selling products violating the copyright of the plaintiff in the six ‘Rainforest Family’ characters and also listing their products under the KICK AND PLAY mark while also copying the shape of the product.

In view of the above and the fact that the plaintiff’s copyright granted in USA in respect of the six characters of the ‘Rainforest Family’ would also extend to India owing to the International Copyright Order and the Indian Copyright Act, the Delhi High Court held that the plaintiff had established a prima facie case and granted an injunction qua copyright infringement. The defendants were also asked to takedown URL’s containing the infringing material within 48 hours.

However, as respect the trademark violation of the mark ‘KICK AND PLAY’ as also the design mark, the Court wanted to provide an opportunity to the defendants before passing any substantive order.

The above-noted order, once again, reiterates the fact that it is not imperative for a copyright holder to have a registration in India per se. Rather, copyright registration in a country which is a signatory to the International Copyright Order would stand extended to India as well.