Hon’ble Delhi High Court, in the case of DLF Limited vs. Rediff.Com India Ltd. & Ors, granted an ad interim injunction in favour of DLF Limited (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Plaintiff’), restraining Stanley Lifestyles Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as ‘Defendants’) from using the mark Global Living Emporio in respect of similar services.
Hon'ble Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, on May 30, 2017, has allowed a temporary relief to Gurgaon based real estate powerhouse DLF limited for infringement of their mark EMPORIO.
The Plaintiff is a real estate giant based out of Gurgaon whereas Defendants no. 2 to 5 own and operate a shopping mall in Banglalore under the name of Global Living Emporio. Defendant no. 1, Rediff.com India Ltd. is the registar on which the domain of the Defendants no. 2 to 5 namely <globallivingemporio.com> is hosted.
The Plaintiff has levelled allegations against the Defendants that they are infringing the trade mark EMPORIO of the Plaintiff by adopting the mark Global Living Emporio in respect to similar services as offered by the Defendants themselves. The Plaintiffs in their complainant asserted that the Defendants, by appropriating the mark EMPORIO, are passing off their goods and services as that of the Plaintiff’s when it is not so.
Hon’be Justice Endlaw, in a very consice order, has held that on perusal of the documents filed and the pleadings made out in the court, the Plaintiffs have made out a prima facie case that they are the bonafide user and adopter of the mark EMPORIO since 2004 and that the Defendants use of the mark EMPORIO as a prominent part of the trade name Global Living Emporio with effect from March, 2017, is considerably subsequent. Delving into the point of territorial aspect of the operations of the both of the parties, Justice Endlaw, avered that even though the Shopping mall of the Plaintiff is at Delhi and that of the Defendant is at Banglalore, the Defendants no. 2 to 5 have registered and are carrying out business through their website www.globallivingemporio.com.
The aforesaid website is also linked to another website of the Defendants www.lovestanley.com. Relying on the Plaintiff’s registration of its website www.dlfemporio.com in 2008, which is much prior to the Defendants registration of their website www.globallivingemporio.com, Justice Endlaw construed that subsequent use by the Defendants No.2 to 5 of a website with the word ‘EMPORIO’ in the domain name is certainly capable of the customers of the Plaintiff being diverted to the Defendants No.2 to 5. Elaborating on the issue of territorial jurisdiction, Justice Endlaw opined that although the shopping mall of the Defendants is located in Banglore, the Hon’ble Delhi Court has territorial jurisdiction.
Therefore, while concluding that the Plaintiff has made out a case of ex parte injunction, Justice Endlaw restrained the defendants from operating the website www.globallivingemporio.com or any other website/domain name with the word ‘EMPORIO’ as part thereof, alone or in conjunction with any other word/s and for restraining the defendants from launching any other Mall or luxury goods business in the name of EMPORIO. He further mandated Defendant no. 1 to block the domain <globallivingemporio.com>.
The order, though a brief one, is a welcome step towards addressing the issue of brand confusion. The Defendants use of the mark EMPORIO in respect of similar services, being considered as an act of passing off not only sets a favourable precedent in favour of right holders but also clears the air on domain names being an extension of a brand owners identity