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Genericness of a Trademark

Trademark protection is fundamental to safeguarding the distinctiveness and reputation of brands in commerce. However, disputes often arise when trademarks are allegedly diluted through widespread use or inaction by the trademark owner. This article analyzes a recent legal case where the defendant asserted that the plaintiff's trademark had become generic due to the plaintiff's failure to object to third-party usage.

Background of the Case:
The case at hand involves an appeal filed by the defendant against an order granting interim injunctions to the plaintiff in a trademark infringement dispute. The plaintiff, holding the trademark "SHAKTI," sought to restrain the defendant's use of a similar mark, "MS SHAKTI." The defendant argued that the plaintiff's inaction against other parties using similar marks implied that the mark had become generic and common to trade.

Legal Analysis:
The central legal issue in this case revolves around the concept of trademark dilution and the standard for proving genericness. Trademark dilution occurs when a mark loses its distinctiveness due to extensive use by third parties or failure to enforce trademark rights. However, establishing genericness requires more than mere inaction by the trademark owner.

The court's dismissal of the defendant's argument underscores the principle that non-action by the plaintiff against other parties does not automatically render the mark generic. Rather, the defendant must provide evidence to substantiate the claim of genericness. In this case, the court rightly held that the defendant failed to present prima facie material demonstrating that the mark "SHAKTI" had become generic in the trade.

Trademark disputes involving allegations of dilution require careful consideration of legal principles and evidence. The recent case discussed highlights the significance of substantiating claims of genericness through proper evidence, rather than relying on the plaintiff's inaction alone.

Case Title: Maruti Ispat & Energy Pvt. Ltd. Vs Chetna Steel Tubes Pvt. Ltd.
Order Date: 23.02.2024
Case No. O.S.A (CAD).Nos.122 and 123 of 2023
Neutral Citation:2024:MHC:6521
Name of Court: Madras High Court
Name of Hon'ble Judge: Mr. Sanjay Gangapurwala and Bharatha Chakravarthy, HJ

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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