The dispute between Bisleri and Coca-Cola over the ‘Maaza’ trademark has finally landed itself in the Delhi High Court. The ET reports that The Coca-Cola Company secured in its favour “an interim injunction restraining Bisleri International from using the Maaza trademark in India. The matter is to come up for further hearing on March 2, 2009.”
Sumathi and I had covered the ‘Maaza’ dispute in two earlier posts which you can read over here and here. Initially in the month of May there were only mere rumblings of a dispute over the usage of the ‘Maaza’ trademark in Europe. In the month of September the rumblings translated themselves into a legal notice being sent by Bisleri to Coca-Cola requesting them to desist from using the ‘Maaza’ trademark outside Indian territory.
As many of our older readers may know, once upon a time Bisleri did own the ‘Maaza’ trademark but had transfered it to Coca-Cola along with several other rademarks like ‘Thums Up’ etc. for a considerable fortune. The current dispute however is in regards which company gets to use the trademark in territories outside India. Bisleri claims that it retains the rights to use the trademark in Europe. In fact Bisleri had already licensed the trademark in certain European countries when it realized that Coca-Cola was attempting to register the trademark in Europe. This discovery was the inital reason for Bisleri serving a legal notice upon Coca-Cola. In its defense Coca-Cola claims that there is no ‘non-compete’ clause in the original deed restraining it from using the trademark in Europe. It appears that in the same legal notice Bisleri threatened to rescind the original agreement, assigning the ‘Maaza’ trademark to Coca-Cola, if in case Coca-Cola continued with its efforts to sell the drink in foreign markets. In all probability this is what led to Coca-Cola to request the Delhi High Court for the interim relief.
I’m surprised that both parties have not yet gone to arbitration in an attempt to atleast resolve the issue of whether or not Bisleri still retains the right to use the trademark in Europe. Perhaps some of our readers could throw light on what exactly is happening behind the scenes.