Recently, in the case titled as “Shree Sant Kripa Intellectual & Anr. Vs Syska Mobile Semi-Conductors & Ors.” being CS (COMM) No. 559/2016, the Delhi High Court decreed the suit for infringement of the trade mark SYSKA and passing off, and copyright infringement in favour of the Plaintiffs and against the Defendants. The case was proceeded ex-parte against the Defendants, who did not appear in Court despite service.
The peculiar facts of the case are briefly stated as under:-
Brief facts and contentions of the Plaintiff-
- The Plaintiff no.1 claimed to be a partnership firm and the partners of the Plaintiff no.1 firm are the directors of the Plaintiff no.2 company.
- The Plaintiff no.1 firm claimed to be the proprietor of the trademark “SYSKA” and has issued licenses in favour of the Plaintiff no.2 company, authorising them to use the said trademark.
- The Plaintiff no.1/firm is claimed to have been constituted in the year 2013 and is stated to be in the business of manufacturing, selling and distributing LED light products, mobile phone accessories, services pertaining to downloading of movies on telephones, insurance of mobile phone etc. The main object of the said firm is stated to be to develop and maintain intellectual properties, i.e., trademark, copyright, design, patent etc. and to license the same to its associate entities. The Plaintiff no. 1/firm has devised various marks such as "SYSKA", "SYSKA LED light years ahead", "SYSKA LED" lounge, "SYSKA ACCESSORIES", "SYSKA gadget secure" etc.
- The trademark “SYSKA” is stated to have been adopted in the year 2013 by the predecessors-in-interest of the Plaintiff no.1 and assigned to it along with other pending trademark applications, and the Plaintiff no.1 firm has sought substitution of its name in the records of the Registrar of Trademarks.
- The Plaintiff no.1 firm also claims to have copyright registrations in the trademarks, "SYSKA ACCESSORIES" and "SYSKA LED LIGHT YEARS AHEAD" and it claims to have filed various trademark applications.
- The Plaintiffs are claimed to have sold LED light products worth approximately INR 300 crores / INR 3 Billion (Approx. USD 46.2 Million*). The licensees of the Plaintiff no.1 are further stated to have sold mobile accessories worth INR 68 crores / INR 0.68 Billion (Approx. USD 10.4 Million*). The Plaintiffs are further stated to have spent considerable amounts in advertising and publishing the trade mark SYSKA and its logo.
- The Plaintiffs contended that the trademark SYSKA has become a household name and that the people associate the said mark exclusively with the Plaintiffs and its associated entities.
- The Defendants are alleged to have hosted a website under the domain name, www.syskamobilecorporation.com, and are allegedly using the Plaintiff’s SYSKA logo on the said website and are claiming to have offices in Dubai, Taiwan, etc.
- It is further alleged that upon investigation, it was found that the Defendants are making such claims with the ulterior motive to cheat the public and cause damage to the Plaintiffs' reputation.
- It is alleged by the Plaintiffs that the Defendants are involved in the business of providing employment to youngsters after charging huge fees and are engaging in the practice of assuring employment in the Plaintiffs' firms/companies. The Plaintiffs are stated to have received information that the Defendants had approached various institutions like K.N. Modi Foundation etc. seeking campus placements. It is alleged that such representations made by the Defendants are false to their knowledge as the Plaintiffs have never authorised them for making such representations.
- The Defendants are alleged to have illegally adopted their trade name, SYSKA for undertaking their activities, including printing t-shirts with the logo and mark, which is identical to the Plaintiffs' logo. Adoption of the said trademark/trade name by the Defendants is alleged to be with the motive of deceiving the public at large.
Decision of The Court
Vide its order dated April 06, 2015, the Delhi High Court had granted an ex-parte ad interim injunction in favour of the Plaintiffs and against the Defendants. The Court had further appointed two Local Commissioners to visit the premises of the Defendant nos. 1 and 2.
Further, since the Defendants did not appear despite service, they were proceeded ex-parte.
Also, the request of the counsel for the Plaintiffs for giving up the prayers for order for damages and order for delivery up of infringing material was accepted by the Court.
The Plaintiffs filed their ex-parte evidence and proved their averments as well as copies of the Copyright registrations in favour of the Plaintiffs. The Plaintiffs further proved that the Plaintiffs' trademark SYSKA is being advertised through the medium of television and magazine. They have also proved the screen shots taken from the Defendants’ website www.syskamobilecorporation.com, and the business activities of the Defendants.
After hearing the Plaintiffs as well as having perused the papers, the Court was of the view that due to extensive use over substantial period of time, the Plaintiffs' trademarks SYSKA and SYSKA logo have acquired reputation and goodwill in India.
The Court, on the basis of the evidence on record, held that the Defendants have been blatantly using the Plaintiff’s name and logo on their website, amounting to unauthorised reproduction of the Plaintiffs’ trademark and copyrighted logo.
Further, as per well settled law laid down by the Supreme Court of India, the Delhi High Court held that as the Plaintiffs' evidence has gone unrebutted, said evidence is accepted as true and correct.
Consequently, the Court accepted the allegation that the trademark and logo pertaining to the name SYSKA being used by Defendants on their website amounts to infringement of the Plaintiffs' copyright, and, use of illegal trade activities by the Defendants is bound to cause incalculable losses, harm and injury to the Plaintiffs and immense public harm. Accordingly, the suit was decreed for permanent injunction for infringement of the trade mark SYSKA and its variations, in favour of the Plaintiff along with the actual costs including lawyers’ fees, local commissioner’s fee as well as the amounts spent on purchasing the court fees. It may be pertinent to note here that the Plaintiffs gave up their prayers pertaining to delivery up of all infringing material and for damages of INR 5 Crores / INR 50 Million (Approx. USD 772,022*).
*@1 USD = 64.91 INR