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No instant relief to sanitaryware firm on trademark plea

A sanitaryware company’s bid to prevent a rival from using a trademark allegedly deceptively similar to its own has suffered a setback, with the Delhi High Court refusing to offer any immediate relief on its petition.

In an interim order on Hindustan Sanitaryware’s plea to stop Champion Ceramic from using the trademark ‘HIMWARE’ — phonetically similar to petitioner’s ‘HINDWARE’ brand — Justice Mool Chand Garg said though the two trademarks sounded similar, visually they were quite different.

As such, Champion Ceramic cannot be stopped from using the trademark at this juncture, the judge said.

Hindustan Sanitaryware — a partnership between the Somany Group and Britain-based Twyfords — alleged that the Champion Ceramic trademark was identical to its own and was confusing customers.

‘It is apparent that the two marks are distinct in as much as ‘Himware’ is encircled in oval-shaped lines circumscribing it and there is nothing which may come near to ‘H-VITREOUS Hindware’,’ the court said.

Earlier, an additional district judge rejected Hindustan Sanitaryware’s plea, prompting it to move the high court.

‘I do not find any infirmity in the order passed by the additional district judge,’ the high court judge said.

‘As far as the word ‘ware’ in Hindware and Himware is concerned, it has been taken from the words sanitaryware and neither the appellant nor the respondent can be permitted to monopolise this,’ the court said.

The court said there was some phonetic similarity between Hindware and Himware, but when the entire trademark name of Hindustan Sanitaryware was compared with the trademark name of Champion Ceramic, the similarity ended.

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