Delhi High Court bars freelancer from using Kesari TV logo in news items under Trademarks Act


The High Court of Delhi has directed a freelance reporter not to use the mark and logo of 'Kesari TV,' while providing news services to print or electronic media till further orders. 

The Single-Judge Bench of Justice C. Hari Shankar further ordered suspension of the domain name www.kesaritv.com, noting that prima facie a case of infringement on part of the plaintiffs against the defendants was made out and the balance of convenience was also in favour of the plaintiffs.

The High Court passed an ex-parte interim order on a suit filed by the owners of Punjab Kesari newspaper, alleging that the journalist had got the domain name registered in his favour and concretised an internet presence under the name 'Kesari TV' with a logo deceptively similar to its unregistered mark for 'Punjab Kesari TV'.

The petition further claimed that the freelancer has been using the word mark 'Kesari TV' as well as 'Punjab Kesari TV' uninterruptedly since 2014, through the registered domain name 'www.kesari.tv'.

The Single-Judge Bench issued summons on the suit and notice on the application seeking interim relief, after noting that the defendant, even while he was working as a freelance reporter for the media group, sought to capitalise on the goodwill earned by the plaintiffs and had the domain name registered in his favour.

Justice Shankar took in view the fact that the nature of services provided by the plaintiffs under their mark was same as that provided by the defendants.

He observed that there was every likelihood that a viewer having average intelligence and imperfect recollection, would mistake the services provided by the defendants under the impugned marks to be the services provided by the plaintiffs or associate the said services with the plaintiffs.

The High Court noted that this tantamounted to infringement within the meaning of sub-sections (1) and (2) of Section 29 of the Trademarks Act, 1999, adding that a prima facie case of Defendant 1 passing off of its services as those provided by the plaintiffs was also made out.

(Case title: Punjab Kesari Publishing House Pvt Ltd & Anr vs Ajit Singh Buland & Ors)