The Delhi High Court in the case of Louis Vuitton Malletier v. Futuretimes Technology India Pvt. Ltd., [CS(COMM) 222/2020], decided on 03.11. 2022, granted costs amounting to 20 lakhs in favour of the global luxury brand- Louis Vuitton in a trademark lawsuit brought against China-based retailer Club Factory.
Earlier, in the year 2020, Louis Vuitton Malletier (hereinafter referred to as “the Plaintiff”) filed a lawsuit before the Delhi High Court (hereinafter referred to as “High Court”), alleging that Futuretimes Technology India Private Limited (hereinafter referred to as “the Defendant”) was “indulging in the sale of unauthorized products” by using the Plaintiff’s trademarks “LOIUS VUITTON”, “LV” logo, the monogram patterns, and other device marks to sell goods on their website i.e., www.clubfactory.com. Subsequently, the Plaintiff also sought for a temporary injunction blocking the selling of its goods on the website of the Defendants.
Therein, the Defendant pledged before the High Court that the URLs on which the said infringing products are displayed will be withdrawn. However, once again in the year 2022, it came to the limelight that despite the undertaking, the products were still offered online on the website of the Defendant that clearly contains the use of the various device and word marks of the Plaintiff.
Pursuant to the foregoing, vide an order dated 24.03.2022, the Defendants were permanently prohibited from making, marketing, or offering for sale any items, including face masks, on the portal run by them.
Additionally, the High Court ordered the Department of Telecommunications (hereinafter referred to as “DoT”) and the Ministry of Information Technology (hereinafter referred to as “MeiTY”) to issue directives to all internet service providers to block “www.clubfactory.com” so that it is also inaccessible through Virtual Private Networks (hereinafter referred to as “VPN”) or any other platforms.
Although the suit was decreed on 24.03.2022 when a permanent injunction was granted against the Chinese website, it was listed for ex-parte testimony concerning the relief of damages and/or costs.
CONTENTIONS OF THE PLAINTIFF
The Plaintiff submitted that they only wanted to press for costs and not damages due to the sensitivity of this issue, and keeping in mind the global image of the Plaintiff.
Therefore, the Plaintiff sought Rs. 32,29,416 as the costs against the present suit, and no other reliefs were prayed for by the Plaintiff.
DECISION AND FINDINGS
The issue of trademark infringement was already deliberated upon and decided by the High Court in the previous hearings, subsequent to which, the High Court held the Defendant liable for trademark infringement of the trademarks and other device marks of the Plaintiff. Given the circumstances of this case, the Plaintiff was granted costs amounting to Rs. 20,00,000.
Intellectual Property Rights (hereinafter referred to as “IPR”) protection is considerably more important in a web-based ecosystem when it is comparatively easier than ever to duplicate any particular logo, mark, or design. Stringent IP laws help in not only protect the IP of the proprietor but also aids in monetarily boosting the brand’s goodwill and reputation.
Trademarks are used to protect an individual’s or an organization’s logo or design. Customers are more likely to connect with a brand’s value through its distinctive logo and design, which in turn promotes consumer confidence in the products and services, thus building the goodwill of the brand.
Hence, in the event any trademark is infringed upon, such duplication not only affects the rights of the original proprietor but also has a negative impact on the brand reputation and revenue accrued through such branding and trademarks.
The High Court’s decision is another illustration of the judiciary’s propensity to uphold the rights of legitimate IPR holders and uphold their faith in the laws of the land.
– Team AMLEGALS assisted by Ms. Ishita Jaiswal (Intern)
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