“ISKCON” A WELL KNOWN MARK- BOMBAY HIGH COURT

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The Plaintiff  International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)had filed a suit seeking permanent injunction restraining the Defendants Iskcon Appaeral Pvt. Ltd. from infringing the Plaintiff’s  registered trademark with a prayer that the trade mark ISKCON be declared a ‘well-known trade mark’ in India. By an order dated 6th March 2020, this Court granted ad-interim reliefs in terms against the Defendants.

The application or the plaint was not objected to by the Defendant who had instead submitted an affidavit in 2010 by which he had agreed not to use the Mark “ISKCON”. Thereby admitting the first right of use exclusively to the plaintiff.

As the application was virtually uncontested the plaintiff went on to press for his second prayer that being to declare the brand “ ISKCON”  as a well known trademark in India.

The applicant then proceeded to parade a long list of evidence that suggest that the Plaintiff’s trade mark ISKCON had acquired immense and long-standing reputation and goodwill throughout India and abroad and that it had been protecting and prosecuting its
mark in various proceedings across India in different cases.

The applicant pleaded that ISKCON is a coined word not existing in the English dictionary and therefore the mark was solely and exclusively associated with the organization. The organization has had a long unbroken use of the mark since its inception from 1971. The organization had also incurred incredible amounts on advertising and marketing the mark in India as well as abroad helping it gain the transnational reputation and goodwill. The organization also had a website which was long in operation.These were in fact proved by the evidence placed on record.

The court after considering these factors and seeing that the requirements under Sec 11(6)&(7) of The Trademarks Act 1999 were satisfied had no hesitation of declaring the trademark “ISKCON” as a well known mark.

 9 In view of the above, I have no doubt in my mind that the Plaintiff’s trade mark ISKCON has come to enjoy a personality that is beyond the mere products/services rendered thereunder and the recognition, reputation and goodwill of the said trade mark ISKCON is today no longer restricted to any particular class of goods or services. From the material placed on record, it is evident that (a) the Plaintiff’s trademark ISKCON has wide acceptability; (b) the popularity of the Plaintiff’ s trademark ISKCON extends not only in India but in other countries as well; (c) the Plaintiff is using its trade mark ISKCON openly, widely and continuously since the beginning; and (d) the Plaintiff has taken several actions against various infringers in the past. I am therefore of the opinion that Plaintiff’s trade mark ISKCON satisfies the requirements and tests of a well-known trade mark as contained in Sections 11(6), 11(7) and other provisions of the Trade Marks Act, 1999. In view thereof, I find no difficulty in holding that the Plaintiff’s trade mark ISKCON is a ‘well-known’ trade mark in India within the meaning provided in Sections 2 (1)(zg) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999.

See the order: