Delhi High Court calls Haldiram well-known trademark, permanently restrains Haryana company from using any similar marks

The Delhi High Court, while terming ‘Haldiram’ as a well-known trademark, which has not only established a presence within the national market but also extended its influence globally, permanently restrained a Haryana-based entity from using the impugned marks ‘Haldiram Bhujiawala’ or ‘Haldiram’ or any other marks that were deceptively similar to Haldiram’s marks.

The single-judge Bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh recently observed that the origins of the multinational sweets, snacks and restaurant company were deeply rooted in India’s rich culinary traditions.

Going by the documents placed on record by the Plaintiff, the High Court said the global footprint of Haldiram, transcending geographical, cultural, and national boundaries, was indicative of the brand’s robust spill-over reputation, where the authenticity of its products resonated with a diverse audience, including in those regions where the brand did not have a legal presence.

The High Court further adjudicated upon Haldiram’s claim of a well-known declaration even in respect of West Bengal, an area where its right did not exist in terms of a dissolution deed.

According to the said deed, Haldiram’s predecessors were given exclusive rights to use the said mark in all of India, except West Bengal.

The single-judge Bench said that the situation was peculiar as even though Haldiram did not hold rights in respect of the mark ‘HALDIRAM’ or ‘HALDIRAM BHUJIWALA’ in West Bengal, it claimed the same as a ‘well-known’, throughout the territory of India, including West Bengal.

It was exporting its products not just within Asia, but to a large span of other countries. In this context, the claim for ‘HALDIRAM’ to be recognized as a ‘well-known’ mark throughout India, inclusive of West Bengal, was a testament to the plaintiff’s cultural and commercial imprint.

Such dynamism aimed to safeguard the goodwill and trust a mark commanded among consumers, irrespective of territorial divisions.

The court observed that the fact that there may be a division between certain family members territorially, would not affect the decision in declaring the mark as well-known, as it was the reputation and goodwill of the mark across products and services that was being recognised by a well-known declaration.

It said based on the averments in the plaint, the documents on record, and the reputation of the Haldiram’s mark and logo as gleaned from the record, it was clear that the plaintiffs’ mark and logo ‘Haldiram’, as well as the oval-shaped mark, have acquired a ‘well-known’ status.

The Bench further awarded Rs 50 lakh as damages and Rs 2 lakh as costs in favour of the plaintiff.

Haldiram had filed a suit in the High Court seeking protection of its mark “Haldiram” and a declaration that the said mark along with its variations “Haldiram Bhujiyawala” were declared as well known.

The suit alleged that Haryana-based entity Haldiram Restro Private Limited and its proprietors were using the mark ‘HALDIRAM BHUJIAWALA’ to promote products like ghee, salt, wheat flour, packaged water, and basmati rice.

The plaintiff was represented by Advocates Neeraj Grover, Arpita Mishra, Kashish Sethi, Sunidhi Gupta, Ayushi Chandra and Ritu Khandelwal.

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