Infosys Technologies troubleshoots successfully in Delhi

India

Bangalore-based Infosys Technologies Ltd, India's leading IT services company, has won a trademark infringement suit against Mumbai-based Aftek Infosys Ltd and Calcutta-based Jupiter Infosys Ltd, restraining them from marketing, advertising and dealing in goods and services under the INFOSYS mark.

In 1999 Infosys became aware that Aftek was using its mark. Upon investigation, it discovered that Aftek originally commenced operations as Aftek Business Machines Ltd, and later changed its name to include the word 'Infosys'. Infosys filed suit in the Calcutta High Court for trademark infringement. However, the court allowed Aftek to continue using its name. Then, late last year, Infosys again filed suit, this time in Delhi, claiming that Aftek's intended use of the INFOSYS mark to raise funds via global and American depositary receipts was likely to cause confusion and irreparably damage Infosys's reputation and goodwill. Infosys filed suit against Jupiter at the same time claiming that its use of the INFOSYS mark also amounted to trademark infringement.

Infosys claimed that it coined and adopted the mark in 1981, and that due to the mark's widespread use and success, it has come to be identified exclusively with the company. Therefore, it argued, any unauthorized use of the INFOSYS mark amounts to infringement of its exclusive rights in the mark.

Aftek and Jupiter argued that 'Infosys' is a generic term within the IT services industry and is simply an acronym for 'information systems'. They provided evidence that India's Register of Companies had, at the time of trial, recorded over 70 companies incorporating the word 'Infosys' in their company name.

Despite this evidence, Infosys was able to convince the Delhi High Court to restrain both Aftek and Jupiter from marketing, advertising and dealing in goods and services under the INFOSYS mark - perhaps demonstrating one company's slow and steady acquisition of monopoly rights over a generic expression.

Gladys Mirandah, Ella Cheong Mirandah & Sprusons, Singapore

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