Who gets to use the CENTURY mark?

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Trademark Registrations should be done with utmost carefulness as well as sincerity. Attention should be paid if there is even a partial overlapping between a pending or registered trademark. A minor similarity could lead to future problems, as evident through the case study.

A trademark dispute arose between Shivam Hardware Store and MS CENTURY WORLD (CW). The respondent Shivam Hardware Store had applied for a figurative mark that contained the terms ‘SHIVAM CENTURY’ in white fonts over a blue background, with SHIVAM written prominently. However, the Plaintiff CENTURY WORLD applied for an injunction against this application.

CW had registered the figurative mark of ‘CP CENTURY’ and ‘CWPL CENTURY’. In both of these marks CENTURY can be clearly seen with it being the prominent term. The words are written in black and white on a red background in the shape of an oval. CENTURY is written in white while CP and CWPL are written in black.

CW argued that the defendant had infringed on its trademark by adopting it in their own filed application. The plaintiff stated that the rights over the terms were not just limited to trademarks but enhanced through the continuous usage of the mark over a long period of time.

The defendant presented that CENTURY was a generic term. Thus trademark rights couldn’t be strictly applied here. The defendant also stated that the appearance of both the marks was different from each other and a confusion between the two was highly unlikely.

The court found that there were indeed similar terms between the two marks. The Court however could not find enough evidence to the defendant’s claim that the mark involved was generic and used frequently. The defendant also failed to provide bona fide usage of the trademark.  The Court in this light awarded the defendant with an injunction and restrained it from using the mark in future.

The case then went to the Delhi High Court. The Court found that although the CENTURY mark was used in a smaller font in the defendant’s mark, it could still lead to confusion. People can be easily misled into believing that both of the products are inter related. The Court thus cancelled the appeal.

You can read the case in detail here.

By The Wizard

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