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Trademark Infringement and the DIABLISS v/s. DIABEAT Case

The realm of intellectual property rights is vital for fostering innovation and ensuring fair competition. Trademarks serve as essential tools in this framework by providing businesses with exclusive rights over their distinct signs, symbols, and names. The case between 'DIABLISS' and 'DIABEAT' before Delhi High Court epitomizes the significance of protecting these rights and the consequences of their infringement.

This petition has been filed for removal of the trademark DIABEAT bearing registration No.3664179 in Class 30 in the name of the respondent OVERRA FOODS and rectification of the Register of Trade Marks under Sections 57/125 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999. The Petitioner herein /plaintiff, who produces a diabetic-friendly sugar under the registered trademark 'DIABLISS', accused the Respondent/ defendant of marketing a strikingly similar product named 'DIABEAT' earlier filed a Suit before Madras High Court.

Not only did the defendant mimic the name, but the packaging and trade dress also bore a close resemblance. Such actions undoubtedly posed a significant risk of consumer confusion, potentially diluting the distinctiveness of the plaintiff's mark. In suit before Madras High Court , interim Injunction was granted in favour of Petitioner herein/Plaintiff therein

Initial Injunction:
Recognizing the potential harm caused by the defendant's actions, the Madras High Court initially granted an injunction in favor of the plaintiff. This preliminary relief underscored the court's immediate recognition of the apparent similarities between the two marks and the potential for market confusion. This order was the main guiding factor , which resulted in allowance of present rectification petition.

The Doctrine of Malafide and Dishonesty:
Central to the court's subsequent decision was the finding that the defendant's actions were "a mala fide and dishonest attempt to cause confusion in the market." The term 'mala fide' signifies bad faith, implying that the defendant intentionally sought to exploit the reputation and goodwill associated with the 'DIABLISS' mark. Such dishonest conduct is antithetical to the principles underpinning trademark law, which seeks to protect both consumers and legitimate businesses from deceptive practices.

Grounds for Removal of 'DIABEAT' Trademark:
The court's decision to order the removal of the 'DIABEAT' trademark stemmed from a comprehensive assessment of various factors:
  1. Likelihood of Confusion: The similarities in the names, packaging, and trade dress between 'DIABLISS' and 'DIABEAT' created a substantial likelihood of confusion among consumers, thereby undermining the distinctiveness and exclusivity associated with the 'DIABLISS' mark.
  2. Infringement of Registered Trademark: By replicating key elements of the 'DIABLISS' mark, the defendant infringed upon the plaintiff's registered trademark rights, thereby violating the statutory protections afforded under the relevant intellectual property laws.
  3. Prevention of Unfair Competition: Beyond mere trademark infringement, the defendant's actions constituted unfair competition by capitalizing on the plaintiff's goodwill and reputation in the market. Such conduct erodes trust and undermines the principles of fair competition, necessitating judicial intervention to rectify the imbalance.

The Concluding Note:
The 'DIABLISS' v/s. 'DIABEAT' case serves as a poignant reminder of the critical role played by trademark law in safeguarding businesses' intellectual property rights and preserving fair competition in the marketplace.

The Case Law Discussed:
Case Title: Diabliss Consumer Products Pvt.Ltd. Vs Overra Foods
Date of Judgement/Order:05.01.2024
Case No. C.O. (COMM.IPD-TM) 307/2022
Neutral Citation: NA
Name of Hon'ble Court: Delhi High Court
Name of Hon'ble Judge: Anish Dayal, H.J.

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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