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SC Allows Interim Relief to ‘Pulimoottil Silks’ in Matter of Trademark Infringement

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Supreme Court Law Insider

Aastha Thakur

Published on: 30 September 2022 at 20:56 IST

A temporary injunction prohibiting a textile owner from using the trademark “Pulimoottil Silks” was recently reinstated by the Supreme Court after being issued by a District Court in Kerala.

An extensive network of textile stores called Pulimoottil Silks has been in business in Kerala for about a century. They filed a lawsuit in 2021 before the Thrissur District Court against a store that will open in Thiruvananthapuram under the name “Pulimoottil Textiles,” citing trademark infringement and passing off.

The petitioners also filed for preliminary lawsuit against the defendant, asking for an order prohibiting the use of the term “Pulimoottil” or any misleadingly similar name in connection with the textile industry.

After hearing arguments from both sides, the District Court granted the injunction requested in a well-reasoned judgement. Before the High Court of Kerala, the Defendant contested the District Court’s order awarding the injunction. The injunction order was overturned by the High Court, which also ordered the District Court to decide the case within eight months of the next posting date.

Petitioner appealed the above-mentioned ruling to the Supreme Court after being upset by it. The petitioners’ counsels argued that the High Court interfered with a district court ruling that was well-reasoned without providing a compelling justification, violating the guidelines established by the Supreme Court in Wander Ltd v. Antrox India Pvt Ltd. (1990).

Additionally, as stated in the 2004 case Midas Hygiene Industries (P) Ltd v. Sudhir Bhatia and Others, injunctions are the ordinary rule in trademark infringement lawsuits and can only be revoked under unusual circumstances.

The High Court also overlooked the notion that misleading likeness should be judged from the perspective of the typical man with impaired memory as outlined in Amritdhara Pharmacy v. Satyadeo Gupta AIR 1963

After hearing counsels appearing for both sides, the Supreme Court bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice JB Pardiwala stayed the High Court’s decision and reinstated the District Court’s injunction order prohibiting the defendants from using the name “Pulimoottil” or any misleadingly similar name in connection with their textile businesses.