Indian law

Today we turn our attention to the Indian subcontinent to round out our series on top IP cases.

Toyota v. Prius Auto: Delhi High Court reverses order on ‘Prius’ brand and holds no infringement by Prius AutoIP

One of the biggest verdicts which made the headlines in July 2016 resulted in a landmark victory in favor of Toyota Motor corp. The July 8 verdict had found a Delhi-based entity Prius Auto guilty of infringing on Toyota’s goodwill and reputation. However, in December a bench of Pradeep Nandrajog and Yogesh Khanna, JJ. set aside the July 8 verdict by a single judge restraining Prius Auto Industries, from using the ‘Prius’ trademark for its products after upholding a challenge earlier made by the Japanese car maker Toyota Motor Corp.

Prius Auto had challenged the interpretation of well-known trademarks, taken by Toyota to secure the judgment and had submitted before the division bench that such trademarks had to be determined in context to a similar class of goods and in a relevant geographical market. The bench also held that as Toyota’s trans-border reputation on the ‘Prius’ brand had been established solely through passing references in newspapers, it could not be said to decisively prove the automatic recognition of the mark in favor of Toyota in India.

PayPal v. PayTM – A storm is brewing in the west.

The recent demonetization carried out by the Indian government has apparently brought a big surge in the number of mobile/digital wallets customers. It has apparently also cleared out a way for the Indian e-commerce and payment System Company PayTM to become the leading brand for virtual wallet in the Indian market. But, this sudden rise to pinnacle also caught attention of the e-commerce giant from the west, PayPal.

The first lightening caused due to this brewing storm has already struck PayTM owners when in November, 2016 PayPal instituted a Notice of Opposition in PayTM’s application under Class 36 to register its TM. PayPal being one of the world’s largest online payment services with presence in several countries and the ability to transact in over 100 currencies have already made their move. As alleged by PayPal, Indian entity PayTM has misappropriated the latter’s bicolor scheme which may seem to be so even to eyes of a common consumer. Looking at the situation, one might appreciate here the significance of the dialogue rendered by the character Selina Kyle in the 2012 action flick ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, “There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, you’re all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.”

Sony Music Entertainment India Pvt. Ltd. v. Raj Television Network Ltd.

This is one of the cases surrounding a Copyright infringement. An interim injunction order passed by the Madras High Court in December 2016 putting restrain on Raj Television Network Pvt. Ltd. from using sound recordings and images owned by one of the biggest record companies, Sony. In this case, Sony Music approached the court after smelling unauthorized use of their copyrighted works by Raj TV, an Indian Television network based in Chennai.

Sony contented that Raj TV produced a number of movies, where allegedly they used sound recordings based on underlying literary and musical works owned and controlled by Sony, without permission via its online website and other online applications. The Court thereby passed an interim injunction restraining Raj TV from in any manner directly or indirectly, using, allowing it to be used, communication to the public by any mode whatsoever, medium, device, wireless the public the works owned by Sony. Furthermore, the injunction ordered by the Court restrained Raj TV from using, performing New Cinematographic Films created with new visuals/synchronised versions/new adapted sound recordings based on underlying literary and musical works, owned by Sony.


ARINDAM NIYOGI, is an licensed Indian Attorney with more than 5 years of experience in complex Trademark law. Drafting office action response arguments is his forte.  Prior to joining the Nagpur office of LegalForce RAPC, Arindam worked as a full time litigant and appeared before Bombay High Court various other subordinate courts. Arindam holds a LL.B. degree from Nagpur University. He is a Dog lover by heart and is a dog behaviorist just as a hobby whenever duty calls.

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