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No Trademark Right Over An Expression Used Purely In A Descriptive Sense

The intersection of trademark law and purely descriptive terms often presents complex legal challenges, as demonstrated in the case of "JU NASHAK" a term used to describe an anti-lice product. This article delves into the legal intricacies surrounding the protection of trademarks, particularly when they involve purely descriptive expressions.

Background of the Case:
In the present case, the Plaintiff, a renowned manufacturer of pharmaceutical and consumer healthcare products, claimed ownership of the trademark "JU NASHAK," which it had been using since 2015 for its anti-lice cream. The Plaintiff alleged that Defendant No. 1 obtained registration for a similar mark "JUNASHAK" for anti-lice cream shampoo, leading to a legal dispute over trademark infringement.

Legal Analysis:
The crux of the matter lies in determining whether "JU NASHAK" qualifies for trademark protection despite its descriptive nature. Trademarks that are used purely in a descriptive manner in relation to the goods or services they represent face challenges in obtaining legal protection. The primary function of a trademark is to identify the source of goods or services, and purely descriptive terms may not fulfill this criterion.

Court's Decision:
The Hon'ble High Court of Delhi declined to grant an injunction in favor of the Plaintiff, reasoning that "JU NASHAK" is a descriptive term indicating the product's function of combating lice infestations. The Court observed that the Plaintiff predominantly uses the trademark "HAIRSHIELD" for its products, with "JU NASHAK" serving a descriptive function rather than indicating exclusive trademark usage.

Implications and Legal Precedents:
This case highlights the importance of distinctiveness in trademarks and the challenges posed by purely descriptive terms. Trademark law aims to prevent consumer confusion and protect the goodwill associated with a brand. Courts often rely on the distinctiveness and uniqueness of a mark to determine its eligibility for legal protection.

This case of "JU NASHAK" underscores the significance of trademark distinctiveness and the limitations imposed on purely descriptive terms. While descriptive terms may serve to inform consumers about the nature of a product, they may not necessarily function as exclusive identifiers of a particular brand.

Case Title: Wings Pharmaceuticals P. Ltd Vs Khatri Healthcare Pvt. Ltd.
Order Date: 04.03.2024
Case No. CS(COMM) 17/2024
Neutral Citation:NA
Name of Court: Delhi High Court
Name of Hon'ble Judge Sanjeev Narula H.J.

Ideas, thoughts, views, information, discussions and interpretation expressed herein are being shared in the public Interest and the same are subject to my subjectivity and may contain human errors in perception, interpretation and presentation of the fact and issue involved herein.This article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be construed as substitute for legal advice. Readers are advised to consult with a qualified attorney for legal guidance on specific matters.

Written By: Advocate Ajay Amitabh Suman, IP Adjutor - Patent and Trademark Attorney
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9990389539

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