Dell gets Bangalore firm to change name

India

In Dell Computer Corp v Dell Technologies (unpublished), the Delhi High Court has issued an order instructing Dell Technologies to cease using the DELL trademark in its trade name. The court found that the Bangalore firm's use of the mark was likely to cause confusion with the owner of the mark, US-based Dell Computer Corporation.

In March 2001 Dell Computer became aware that Dell Technologies, which is involved in the leasing, assembly, sale, servicing and upgrading of computers, was using the DELL mark in its trade name. Dell Computer served a cease-and-desist notice on Dell Technologies informing the latter of its exclusive rights in the mark, but Dell Technologies did not respond. When, in February 2002, Dell Computer discovered that Dell Technologies had registered and was using the domain name 'dell-technologies.com', it initiated proceedings for an injunction preventing the India-based firm from using the DELL mark in its trade name any longer.

At trial, Dell Computer argued that its trade name originates from the surname of Michael Dell, who established the company in 1984 in Texas in order to market and sell computer hardware. The DELL mark was registered in 1987 and has been in continuous use ever since. Accordingly, Dell Computer argued that Dell Technologies' use of the DELL mark in its trade name constituted trademark infringement (but strangely did not contest the use of the DELL mark in the domain name).

The Delhi High Court ruled in favour of Dell Computer, stating that Dell Technologies' use of the DELL mark was likely to lead to consumer confusion and misappropriate the US company's goodwill. Thus, the court ordered Dell Technologies to change its name.

Since the trial, the Bangalore firm has changed its name to e4u Networks Pvt Ltd but continues to use 'dell-technologies.com' for its website.

Gladys Mirandah, Ella Cheong Mirandah & Sprusons, Singapore

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