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Corona v/s Corona (Disparagement of Trademark)

In today's emerging and changing world, outcomes of every situations are mere unpredictable, a successful huge business can be shred into pieces in a dawn and on the other hand a small micro business can jump up to a multi milliner post in just a night.

Thus, nowadays the faith of customers on the products of their company should be maintained and made up to an priority to tackle this kinds of problems, but sometimes due to some unwanted events happening in the society, though there is no direct relation with the problem, but just through some mere indirect misconception or misrepresentation with the unwanted event, the other firm which does not at all constitute anything in the problems gets devastated with it and hence, the reputation and the goodwill is flourished, and the firm suffers losses.

So, to avoid this type of loses in the market the judiciary has to provide a justified and constructive remedy towards the aggrieved party in order to maintain the order of natural justice and to avoid and evade any types of this problems and to correctly interpret the situation.

Cerveciria Modelo De Mexico is a company which has a born business in Mexico, the company has its turnover in millions and trillions and holds the business of selling alcoholic beer named Corona. The company has a top to the mark goodwill and reputation in its own territory as well as in the huge international market.

As holding the present situation, the world is been greatly affected with the Covid-19 virus emerging in all parts on the planet. In this pandemic, people's life is been dreadfully miserable, due to this an indirect and unwanted fear is been fostered in the hearts of the people, this eventually led to panic between them. Thus, when just a mere expression in the society regarding this pandemic is been caused, it eventually increases the fear for that expression in the people and eventually generates a hate among them for that particular thing.

Similarly here in this case, a Company named Whiskin Spirits, unceasing started posting an ad about the Cerveciria Modelo De Mexico brand's product CORONA and linked it with the virus that created such a huge pandemic named as Novel Corona Virus, hence with the clear instance of desire to deplete the goodwill and reputation of the product 'CORONA', the company 'Whiskin Spirits' started it's advertisement.

Here, the main criteria on which the contentions are been held is for Disparagement. The expression disparagement means a derogatory comparison of one thing with another; the act or an instance of castigating or detracting from the reputation of, esp. unfairly or untruthfully; a false and injurious statement that discredits or detracts from the reputation of another's property, product or business.[1] This directly resembles the present case contentions and thus should be taken into serious consideration.

Courts Contension[2]
Cerveciria Modelo De Mexico has filed a suit before Delhi High Court for an immediate ex party injunction to temporarily restrain Whiskin Spirits Private Ltd from posting advertisements on social media platforms linking popular beer brand Corona with the novel coronavirus, that eventually disparage the defendants which and hurt their reputation.

The hearing took place via Video Conferencing on account of Covid-19.

Plaintiff facts: Plaintiff's is the manufacture of beer which is sold under the registered trademark "CORONA". It is averred that the said beer is sold in 180 countries and, therefore, has a worldwide reputation.

It is also averred that the defendant was engaged by the plaintiff as its distributor for the National Capital Territory of Delhi. Mr. Pravin Anand, who appears on behalf of the plaintiff, informed that the distributorship agreement spanned between 2014-2015. The plaintiff appears to be aggrieved by the fact that the defendant has taken out advertisements on the social media platform i.e. Facebook which likens the plaintiff's product with Coronavirus.

Order of the Court: The plaintiff, at the present, at least at this stage, had been able to set up a prima facie case in its favour qua disparagement. The balance of convenience also appeard to be in favour of the plaintiff given the extent and nature of its market qua the aforementioned product.

Further it appeared that the plaintiff's statutory and commercial interests would also get jeopardized if an ad interim injunction is not granted in its favour.
And according issued a summon in the suit and notice in captioned application.

It was further mentioned that, till the next date of hearing, the defendant, its employees, agents, officers, affiliated entities and all others acting for and on its behalf are injuncted from reproducing, broadcasting, communicating to the public, screening, publishing and distributing the impugned advertisement on any media or platform including the social media platforms.

And the plaintiff will comply with the provisions of Order XXXIX Rule 3 of the CPC within five days of the receipt of a copy of this order.

The Court set the next hearing to 22nd of July.

  1. Black's law dictionary, Eighth Edition
  2. Cerveciria Modelo De Mexico, S. De ... vs Whiskin Spirits Pvt. Ltd on 22 June, 2020

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