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Trademark Infringement and the Notion of State of Wonderment under the Trade Marks Act 1999

In a recent legal battle, the Plaintiff initiated a lawsuit against the Defendant, aiming to prohibit the use of the trademark "FLY HIGH" or "FLY HIGHER." The central issue revolves around whether the Defendant's use of these terms falls within the ambit of trademark infringement or if they are being utilized in a non-trademark sense. The court's decision sheds light on the delicate balance between protecting intellectual property rights and allowing expressive and non-traditional uses.

The Plaintiff's claim is rooted in the belief that the Defendant's use of "FLY HIGH" or "FLY HIGHER" infringes upon their trademark rights. Conversely, the Defendant asserts that their utilization of these terms is non-trademark in nature. This sets the stage for a nuanced legal analysis to determine the scope of protection afforded to the Plaintiff's trademark.

Court's Ruling:
The Hon'ble Court, after careful consideration, ruled in favor of the Defendant. The decision permits the Defendant to employ "FLY HIGH" or "FLY HIGHER" in a non-trademark sense, including its incorporation into keywords, advertising campaigns, and hashtags. This ruling signifies a recognition of the evolving landscape of intellectual property, acknowledging the expanded use of trademarks in the digital age.

  1. Non-Trademark Use:
    The court's decision acknowledges the Defendant's argument that they are using the contested terms in a non-trademark sense. This could include situations where the terms are used descriptively or generically, rather than as identifiers of the source of goods or services.
  2. Keywords and Advertising Campaigns:
    Allowing the use of "FLY HIGH" or "FLY HIGHER" in keywords and advertising campaigns suggests a broader interpretation of fair use. The court recognizes the importance of not stifling creative and expressive language in the online realm.
  3. Hashtags:
    The inclusion of hashtags in the court's ruling is particularly noteworthy. It acknowledges the prevalent use of hashtags in modern communication and marketing, signaling a pragmatic approach to the intersection of trademark rights and social media practices.

The concluding Note:
This legal saga highlights the evolving nature of trademark disputes in the digital age. The court's decision to permit the Defendant's use of "FLY HIGH" or "FLY HIGHER" in a non-trademark sense, including its incorporation into keywords, advertising campaigns, and hashtags, reflects a delicate balance between protecting intellectual property rights and fostering free expression in the contemporary business landscape.

The Case Law Discussed:
Case Title: Franklin Aviation Services Pvt Ltd. Vs Tata Sia Airlines Limited
Date of Judgement/Order:04.12.2023
Case No. CS(COMM)54/2022
Neutral Citation No:2023:DHC:8670
Name of Hon'ble Court: Delhi High Court
Name of Hon'ble Judge: Prathiba M Singh, HJ

Ideas, thoughts, views, information, discussions and interpretation expressed herein are being shared in the public Interest. Readers' discretion is advised as these are 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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