The Delhi High Court on Monday allowed an appeal by Tata Sons Private Ltd to grant an ad-interim injunction against Hakunamatata Tata Founders and others using the former's trademark for doing online trading in cryptocurrency 'TATA Coin.'
A bench of Justices Manoj Kumar Ohri and Mukta Gupta, in the order, noted that "the appellant (Tata) is known for the quality of its goods and services. Any dubious and inferior products sold through the respondents' website, using the appellant's trademark, can seriously damage its credibility".
As per Tata Sons' contentions, the respondents (Hakunamatata), registered in the UK and the US, are using its trademark for doing online trading in cryptocurrency through their website(s) 'www.tatabonus.com' and 'www.hakunamatata.finance'.
It said that the websites are accessible in India and are in fact accessed by visitors from Delhi on daily basis.
"In India, the trademark Tata is embedded in the subconsciousness of public. In public consciousness, the word Tata is only relatable to Tata group of companies. As pleaded, the appellant is the owner of the trademarks in question, and the said marks are used across the board by almost all the group companies of Tata. The pre-eminence of the business reputation of the Tata Group and the popularity of the trademarks is beyond contest. There is sufficient pleading in the plaint to reach the said conclusion.." the court said in the order.
It was also noted that the people behind the offending website are stated to be UK nationals of Pakistani origin does make the motives suspicious, given the popularity of Tata brand among the people from Indian sub-continent.
"It is not unreasonable to infer that the objective of respondent No.1 could be to target unsuspecting Indian origin public by doing trade in the name of 'Tata'. We believe the appellant has a good prima facie case to seek injunction, as far as website www.tatabonus.com, crypto products by the name of $TATA, or any other product of respondent No.1 being sold on the website www.hakunamatata.finance under the name Tata is concerned, if not for anything else, but just to avoid any confusion likely to be caused in the mind of the public in India, who might be deceived to believe that the respondents' website in question and products sold therein are the Tata Group's own website or have an association with the Tata Group.
"Not granting ad-interim injunction can cause irreparable harm to the goodwill enjoyed by the appellant's trademark. The appellant is known for the quality of its goods and services. Any dubious and inferior products sold through the respondents' website, using the appellant's trademark, can seriously damage its credibility," the order said while allowing the appeal.