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Trademark Infringement And Dissolution Of Partnership

The present appeal centers around a dispute involving the usage of the trademark "Musa Ka Gul" in connection with tobacco products. The Plaintiff/Respondent and the Defendant/Appellant share a common familial lineage, but the former has obtained trademark registration for the said mark, while no such registration exists in favor of the Defendant. The issue at hand has previously been a subject of arbitration before the High Court of Kolkata, which led to an interim injunction against the Defendant's use of the trademark.

Factual Background:
The crux of this case lies in the dissolution of the firm "M S Industries." The Appellant contends that subsequent to issuance of the injunction against M.S.Indistries by the Kolkata High Court in the arbitration proceedings, M S Industries was dissolved, rendering the injunction inoperative against the individual Defendants.

Court's Decision:
However, the court has dismissed the Appeal, stating that there is no evidence on record to suggest that the partnership business was formally and entirely wound up. Mere dissolution of the partnership, even with approval from the proceedings in question, does not grant the Defendants the authority to produce and sell products with a name and identity deceptively similar to the registered trademark of the Plaintiff-Respondents.

Legal Analysis:
  1. Trademark Registration:
    The Plaintiff's registration of the trademark "Musa Ka Gul" is a pivotal point in this case. Trademark registration grants exclusive rights to the owner, providing protection against any unauthorized usage of the mark in connection with similar goods or services.
  2. Injunction:
    The interim injunction issued by the Kolkata High Court in arbitration proceeding, signifies the seriousness of the dispute and the potential harm to the Plaintiff's trademark rights. The court's prior decision underscores the importance of safeguarding registered trademarks from infringement.
  3. Partnership Dissolution:
    The dissolution of M S Industries raises the question of whether the individual Defendants can be held responsible for trademark infringement. The court's decision suggests that the dissolution alone does not absolve the Defendants of liability.
  4. Authority to Use Trademark:
    The court has stressed that the authority to use a trademark, especially in connection with deceptively similar products, is not automatically conferred upon the dissolution of a partnership. Other factors, such as trademark registration and previous legal proceedings, must be considered.

The Concluding Note:
This legal analysis highlights the complexities surrounding trademark infringement and the dissolution of a partnership. While the dissolution of M S Industries may have affected the corporate entity, it does not automatically grant the individual Defendants the right to infringe upon the Plaintiff's registered trademark. The court's decision underscores the significance of upholding trademark rights, even in cases involving familial or partnership disputes.

The Case Law Discussed:
Case Titled: Salik Mukhtar And 4 Others Vs M.M.I. Tobacco Pvt. Ltd
Date of Judgement/Order:13/10/2023
Case No. First Appeal from Order 2170 of 2022
Neutral Citation No: 2023: AHC:197942
Name of Hon'ble Court: High Court of Allahabad
Name of Hon'ble Judge: Kshitij Shailendra, H.J.

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 Trademark Attorney
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9990389539

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