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Impact of Suppressing Disclaimer Conditions on Trademark Registration

The recent judgment by the Calcutta High Court in the MAZDOOR BIDI case sheds light on the consequences of suppressing a disclaimer condition on a registered trademark. In this case, the plaintiff, who initially secured an ex-parte injunction against the defendant for alleged trademark infringement, faced challenges as the defendant brought forth compelling arguments. This analysis delves into the legal implications and considerations made by the court in vacating the interim injunction.

Suppression of Disclaimer Condition:
The pivotal issue revolved around the plaintiff's alleged suppression of a disclaimer condition related to their registered trademark "MAZDOOR BIDI." The court noted that the plaintiff failed to disclose a crucial fact � the existence of a restriction on the exclusive rights over the descriptive matter appearing on the label. Specifically, the plaintiff was granted the right to sell its product exclusively within the State of West Bengal.

Court's Observations:
The Calcutta High Court, in its observations, highlighted that the plaintiff obtained the injunction order by suppressing material facts. The court emphasized that the disclaimer condition, which limited the plaintiff's exclusive rights, was vital information that should have been disclosed during the legal proceedings. This failure to provide complete and accurate information influenced the court's decision to vacate the interim injunction.

Defendant's Counter Arguments:
The defendant strategically presented three key arguments challenging the plaintiff's case. Firstly, they contended that the plaintiff's activity was limited to West Bengal, while the defendant operated in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Secondly, the defendant claimed to be the prior user of the trademark. Lastly, the defendant submitted an affidavit asserting that their products were not sold, directly or indirectly, in the State of West Bengal.

Court's Decision:
The court, after careful consideration of the defendant's arguments, sided with the defendant and vacated the interim injunction by observing that Plaintiff has obtained the ex parte Injunction after suppressing the disclaimer condition on its registered Trademark. The judgment further highlighted the defendant's establishment as the prior user and their documented evidence showing that their products were not being sold in West Bengal. The failure of the plaintiff to provide any evidence to the contrary further weakened their case.

The concluding Note:
This case underscores the importance of transparency in legal proceedings, particularly in matters related to trademark registrations. Suppressing essential information, such as disclaimer conditions, can have severe consequences for the party seeking legal remedies. The MAZDOOR BIDI case serves as a cautionary tale, emphasizing the need for full and accurate disclosure to ensure a fair and just legal process in trademark disputes.

The Case Law Discussed:
Case Title: Amir Biri Factory & Ors Vs Mohd. Aslam
Date of Judgement/Order:16.01.2024
Case No. CS No 211 of 2012
Neutral Citation: NA
Name of Hon'ble Court: Calcutta High Court
Name of Hon'ble Judge: Krishna Rao, 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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