LE Correspondent

New Delhi, May 17, 2022: In the trademark infringement tussle relating to the registered trademark “FRAPPUCCINO” of Starbucks Corporation (plaintiff), the Delhi High Court has awarded damages to the tune of Rs 2 lakh and over Rs 9 lakh cost in favour of the plaintiff as it was proved that use of the impugned marks by the defendant-Cafe amounted to infringement of Plaintiff’s “FRAPPUCCINO” trademarks.

The Bench of Justice Jyoti Singh passed the award considering the fact that the marks used by the Defendants (Teaquila A Fashion Cafe) were phonetically and visually identical to the Plaintiff’s FRAPPUCCINO mark and the names of the beverages were confusingly and conceptually similar to one of the Plaintiff’s hand-crafted beverage items ‘SMOKED BUTTERSCOTCH FRAPPUCCINO’ and ‘HAZELNUT FRAPPUCCINO BLENDED COFFEE’.

The facts that led to filing of the present suit were such that the plaintiff received information in 2018, that the second defendant was operating a cafe wherein it was selling/serving beverages under the name “Butterscotch Frappuccino” and “Hazel Nut Frappuccino” without plaintiff’s permission, authorization or any license. The plaintiff claimed that the marks used by the defendants were phonetically and visually identical to the plaintiff’s “Frappuccino”  mark and the names of the beverages were confusingly and conceptually similar to one of the plaintiff’s hand-crafted beverage items. 

The defendants still continued to sell the impugned products even after a cease and desist notice. Thus, the plaintiff preferred the present plaint seeking decree of permanent injunction to restrain the defendants from infringing plaintiff’s registered trademark “Frappuccino”. Plaintiff also prayed for an award of damages.

The Bench asserted, “Having heard learned counsel for the Plaintiff and after perusing the evidence and documents, this Court is of the view that the Plaintiff’s FRAPPUCCINO trademarks have acquired formidable reputation and goodwill in India and the Defendants have used identical marks with respect to similar goods and the trade channels and the customer base are also common.”

Holding that the Triple Identity Test was satisfied and clarifying that the intent of the Defendants was to pass off their goods as that of the Plaintiff,  the High Court concluded that the Plaintiff had made out a case for grant of permanent injunction. Without losing sight of the fact that the Defendants had been found guilty of infringement and referring to the judgment of this Court in Indian Performing Right Society v. Debashis Patnaik, the Bench granted the aforementioned damages and costs. 

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