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The Bombay High Court has restrained an edible oil company from using trademark ‘RISO-LITE’ for its rice bran oil on the ground that it appears identical to or is deceptively similar to trademark ‘RISO’ of another company. 

The order was passed recently by Justice S J Kathawala in a suit filed by Kamani Oil Industries against Bhuvaneshwar Refineries in a case of alleged infringement of its trademark. 
The injunction issued to Bhuvaneshwar Refineries on using the impugned trademark ‘RISO-LITE’ would be in force until the suit is finally disposed of, the judge ruled.

The court expedited the hearing of the suit and asked the defendants to file their written statement on or before June 9. Issues would be framed on June 13.

The judges held that the plaintiff has prima facie proved that the said mark ‘RISO’ was honestly and concurrently adopted by them.
The plaintiff said it had acquired registration of the trademark ‘RISO’ on July 27, 2012, and that this registration is valid, subsisting and in force. It also argued that the impugned trademark ‘RISO-LITE’ of the defendant was deceptively similar to its mark ‘RISO’.

Bhuvaneshwar Refineries argued that ‘RISO’ was an Italian name for rice and hence it was descriptive in nature and can be freely used by anyone.

“The defendant’s argument that the word ‘RISO’ means rice in Italian and hence the same is descriptive in nature, in my opinion does not hold good,” said Justice Kathawala.

“It is true that certain words are often borrowed from a foreign language and commonly used in India. However, ‘RISO’ is not one such word which is commonly used in India, and cannot be held as descriptive in the Indian context.

“Therefore, there is a possibility that people buying these products may not be well versed with the Italian meaning of the word ‘RISO’ and therefore it cannot be said that the said mark ‘RISO’ is descriptive in nature”, Kathawala said.

“Thus I am of the prima facie view that the said disclaimer on the registration of the plaintiff’s mark does not apply to the word ‘RISO’ in the present case,” the judge said.

(Source:PTIoil company)

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