The Madras High Court has ruled that Amaravathi Restaurants Private Limited (the applicant) cannot claim a monopoly on the “Karaikudi” mark, in a trademark infringement case filed against Karaikudi Chettinadu Mess (the Defendant). Karaikudi is a town located in Sivaganga district in the state of Tamil Nadu.
The applicant is the registered owner of the word mark “Karaikudi” and the machine mark “Kaaraikudi Chettinad Restaurant”. She claimed to have adopted the Karaikudi brand in 1989. The applicant and his sister have many restaurants under different brands such as Amaravathi, Malgudi, The Dhaba, Amaravathi Bistro, Kabul and Duchess as well as Kaaraikudi in Chennai.
The defendant continues business by adopting the Karaikudi Chettinad Mess brand in the city and the same has been used for similar service – restaurant, which amounts to trademark infringement and cancellation of service.
Claiming that they had statutory protection against infringement, the applicant requested an interim injunction against the defendant for use of the trademark and from passing, pending disposal of the lawsuit.
Judge J Jayachandran said in his order on Friday that the plaintiff does not file a prima facie case for any protection of its public mark to grant an injunction prohibiting the defendant/defendant from using the Karaikudi Chettinad Mess for the hotel.
The registered device mark of the device displayed in a unique way with “AA” next to the “K” in the word Kaaraikudi, which is a place name and general in nature. Whereas, the word Karaikudi, the name of the place in Tamil Nadu, is available in the public domain and is used by several people in different parts of this state and beyond for identical service and other goods or services.
The Karaikudi Chettinad Mess sign used by the respondent is a combination of place name and district name, which are closely related and interchangeable. The word Kaaraikudi or Karaikudi is not a polished or invented word. The device tag Kaaraikudi Chettinad Restaurant unless identical or deceptively similar, cannot be restricted from use by any honest concurrent user. “Hence, the balance of convenience is not at all in the applicant’s favor,” the order read.
In the case of marks of geographical origin, there is an absolute reason for refusing to register. The order said that even if the registration is granted, it is liable to revocation or revocation and, in any case, it will not receive protection against infringement unless it acquires a secondary meaning.
In the case under consideration, no misrepresentation was shown by the remote respondent to lead the public that the respondent’s business/service is from the applicant’s business home (Amaravathi group).
“Therefore, when the plaintiff cannot claim a monopoly on the Karaikudi mark, there is no loss as alleged and there is no case filed by the plaintiff/plaintiff for provisional relief of the injunction. Hence, requests for injunctions are denied. There is no order on the matter,” the order said. costs.”