Saturday, May 29, 2010

Trade Marks Act, 1999

Sections 9, 30 and 35

'Sugar Free" What it is coined word or common descriptive adjective?
HELD In our view, at this juncture i.e. at the interim stage, even assuming distinctiveness claimed by the appellant in its favor qua its artificial sweetener, the appellant has rightly been declined an injunction by the learned Single Judge since it is evident and has indeed been found by the learned Single Judge that the use of the term 'Sugar Free' by the respondent is not in the trademark sense but as a common descriptive adjective. The learned Single Judge has found and in our view rightly that the respondent has not used the expression in a trademark sense but only in a descriptive sense.... It is important to be borne in mind that use of a descriptive expression as a trade mark by a trader, irrespective of the said trade mark having acquired a secondary meaning and distinctiveness in relation to the trader's products, does not entitle such trader from precluding other traders from using the said expression for the purposes of describing the characteristic features of their products.

We are unable to hold that the appellant's trademark 'Sugar Free' is a coined word; at best it is a combination of two popular English words. The mere fact that the appellant's product cannot be directly consumed or eaten and merely is an additive does not detract from the descriptive nature of the trade mark.
Grievance adequately redressed by the restriction on the size of font by interim order held to be justified not warranting any interference.

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