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22 December 2016

Trademark – No confusion even if marks have equal number of letters, begin and end with same letters

Bombay High Court on 21-11-2016 has denied interim injunction in favour of the plaintiffs in a trademark infringement and passing off suit in a dispute in respect of the registered trade mark of the Plaintiff “ESBEDA” which was used in respect of designer leather products such as handbags, luggage, purses and wallets. The defendant (Ishaan Overseas ) on the other hand used the mark “EDMODA” in respect of ladies’ bags, travelling bags and school bags.

The Single Judge observed that other than the fact that both marks were in capital letters, both marks differed in visual and phonetic properties. It was held that merely because each had sixletters, and each begins with “E” and ends with “A”, it is not possible to conclude that the affluent people who typically form its consumer base, would be unable to tell one from the other. Observing that the test of similarity must be applied first, and then one must proceed to other tests, it was held that there was no similarity or likelihood of confusion, and nothing to show element of deceit on the defendant’s part. The Single Judge accordingly denied injunction in favour of the Plaintiff (Intouch Leather House India Pvt. Ltd. ) on both counts of infringement and passing off.