Shaw Wallace wins fight for 5000

India

In Shaw Wallace Ltd v Superior Industries Ltd (Case 1204/2003), the Delhi High Court has issued an injunction restraining the defendant from using the numeral 5000 in respect of beer. The court held that the defendant's launch of a 'Superior 5000' brand of beer (i) infringed the plaintiff's HAYWARDS 5000 mark, and (ii) constituted passing off.

Shaw Wallace, a drinks manufacturer based in India, filed a suit for trademark infringement and passing off against Superior Industries following its launch of a 'Superior 5000' brand of beer. Shaw Wallace alleged that it has been using HAYWARDS 5000 for beer since 1983 and owns a registration for the mark without disclaimer of the numeral 5000.

The High Court accepted Shaw Wallace's argument that 5000 is an essential and prominent element of its HAYWARDS 5000 mark, and has become associated with its beer on account of longstanding use. The court noted that the definition of trademark includes numerals and rejected Superior Industries's contentions that (i) Shaw Wallace should not be granted exclusive right to the numeral 5000, and (ii) 5000 is not distinctive.

The court concluded that Superior Industries's 'Superior 5000' brand infringed the HAYWARDS 5000 mark and amounted to passing off. It issued an injunction restraining Superior Industries from using the numeral 5000 for beer.

Ranjan Narula, Rouse & Co International, Dubai

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