In the case at hand, we analyze a dispute involving the defense of honest and
concurrent user in a trademark rectification petition. The case revolves around
the use of the trademark "NATRAJ" with the Natraj device by two parties, the
appellant and the respondent.
The case originated from a ruling by the Hon'ble Single Judge in 1984, which
denied the appellant's request to cancel Trade Mark No. 324345 held by the
respondent. The appellant, a manufacturer of various stationary products,
claimed to have been operating under the trademark "NATRAJ" with the Natraj
device since 1957. On the other hand, the respondent contended that they had
been using the same trademark in connection with geometrical instruments since
1974, and their mark had been registered in 1981.
Honest and Concurrent Use:
The crux of this case lies in the concept of honest and concurrent use of a
trademark. The Hon'ble Division Bench of the High Court of Delhi examined the
case and found that neither the appellants nor the respondent used the phrase "Natraj"
with the Natraj device exclusively in relation to stationary items. This
observation was crucial in granting the respondent the benefit of an honest and
The court's reasoning was that multiple other users had registered similar
trademarks. This indicated that the respondent genuinely believed they were
using the mark for items distinct from those for which the appellants had
already registered the trademark. In other words, the respondent's use of the
mark for mathematical instruments was in good faith, believing it did not
infringe upon the appellant's registered mark.
Abandonment of Objection:
One critical aspect that worked against the appellants in this case was their
failure to provide evidence to support their notice of opposition against the
respondent's registration. Despite contesting the respondent's application, the
appellants did not produce any substantial proof when given multiple
opportunities to do so. Consequently, their objection was abandoned.
The appellants did not take the recourse of filing a review under Section 97(C)
or an appeal under Section 109(2) against the abandoned ruling. This omission
played a significant role in the dismissal of their appeal.
The Concluding Note:
In trademark disputes, the principle of honest and concurrent use is vital,
allowing parties to coexist peacefully when they genuinely use similar marks
without infringing on each other's rights. This case serves as a reminder of the
importance of providing substantial evidence in trademark objections and the
consequences of failing to pursue legal avenues available for appeal or review.
The Hon'ble Division Bench's decision in favor of the respondent underscores the
need for a well-documented and legally sound defense in trademark disputes. In
this instance, the appellant's failure to substantiate their claims and appeal
the abandoned ruling ultimately led to the dismissal of their case, reaffirming
the principle of honest and concurrent use in trademark law.
Case Title: Hindustan Pencils Private Limited Vs Universal Trading Company
Date of Judgement:31/10/2000
Case No. FAO(OS). 6 of 1985
Neutral Citation No:N.A.
Name of Hon'ble Court: High Court of Delhi
Name of Hon'ble Judge: Arun Kumar and A.K. Sikri, JJ
Information and discussion contained herein is being shared in the public
Interest. The same should not be treated as substitute for expert advice as it
is subject to my subjectivity and may contain human errors in perception,
interpretation and presentation of the fact and issue involved herein.
Written By: Advocate Ajay Amitabh Suman
, IP Adjutor - Patent and
Email: [email protected]
, Ph no: 9990389539