India: Deceptive Similarity of Trademarks

Amrit SinghIn India, so-called translation cases, where a later mark is (or is alleged to be) a mere translation of an earlier mark leading to confusion resulting from conceptual similarity, are dealt with under the concept of “deceptive similarity”. While earlier decisions seemed to favour a broad interpretation of this concept, the judgment of the Delhi High Court dated 31 January 2019 in the case of M/S Allied Blenders and Distillers Pvt. Ltd. v. Govind Yadav & Anr seems to support closer scrutiny. In this case, the Court ruled that the trademarks “Officer’s Choice” and “Fauji’s” were not deceptively similar. The plaintiff had trademarked the term ‘Officer’s Choice’ in the year 1988 and was using this for alcoholic beverages. The defendants were using the mark ‘Fauji’ with respect to the same products. The plaintiff argued that the literal translation of the term “Fauji” would be…

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