Read Order: KHADI & VILLAGE INDUSTRIES COMMISSION vs. RAMAN GUPTA AND OTHERS

Tulip Kanth

New Delhi, March 24, 2022: In a trademark infringement suit filed by Khadi & Village Industries Commission, the Delhi High Court has granted interim injunction in favour of the Commission and has restrained the defendants from manufacturing and selling any products bearing the trademark ‘KHADI BY HERITAGE’.

The Bench of Justice Pratibha M. Singh was of the view that the use of the word ‘KHADI’, which is a registered trademark, especially for medical products such as PPE kits, hand sanitizers and fireballs without any quality control is not only violative of the rights of the Plaintiff but also of concern to the interest of the general public as there is no quality supervision.

The plaintiff – Khadi & Village Industries Commission – is a body established under Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act, 1956 and is the registered proprietor of various word marks and device marks bearing word ‘KHADI’ in Hindi and English, both in artistic form as also in logo form along with the ‘Charkha Logos’.

The Plaintiff’s grievance was that the Defendants have been using the trading style ‘KHADI BY HERITAGE’, corporate name KHADI BY HERITAGE as also the mark ‘KHADI BY HERITAGE’ and the ‘Charkha Logo’ in various forms. 

It was submitted from the plaintiff’s side that the defendants also operate a website by the name in which they use ‘Charkha Logos’ and the trademark ‘KHADI BY HERITAGE’. On the website they promote and sell various products, especially medical products such as PPE Kits, hand sanitizers and fireballs. It was also contended that the use of the trademark KHADI in this manner, especially, in relation to the medical products raised enormous concerns in respect of the quality of these products apart from constituting violation of various statutory and common law rights of the Plaintiff.

After a perusal of the plaint, Justice Singh held that the word ‘KHADI’ is a registered trademark along with logos and various device marks and during the recent pandemic, the Plaintiff had also manufactured and sold various medical products such as hand sanitizers, etc. which are also used extensively by the consuming public. 

Under such circumstances, the Bench observed that use of the word ‘KHADI’ which is a registered trademark, especially, for medical products such as PPE kits, hand sanitizers and fireballs without any quality control is not only violative of the rights of the Plaintiff but also of concern to the interest of the general public as there is no quality supervision.

The Bench said, “The use of the mark ‘KHADI BY HERITAGE’ along with ‘Charkha logo’ on its website could also lead the consumers to believe that the Defendants are related or associated with/sponsored by the Plaintiff. The use of the word ‘KHADI’ as mark or as logo/device as also in trading style and as corporate name is illegal and unlawful.”

Opining that non-grant of the ex parte could cause enormous damage to the consuming public on a day-to-day basis, Justice Singh held that the Plaintiff has made out a prima facie case for grant of interim injunction in its favour. 

Restraining the defendants from dealing with any product bearing the trademark ‘KHADI BY HERITAGE’, the High Court also restricted  them from using the trade mark KHADI either on a stand-alone basis or in a logo form, the CHARKHA logo with the mark KHADI as also the domain names and the websites operated by them.

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