SPICY IP TIDBIT: Tea Board refused interim injunction in Tea Board – ITC ‘Darjeeling’ dispute

As we reported earlier, the Tea Board of India had earlier lost its appeal before the Calcutta High Court for the purpose of obtaining injunction against the Indian conglomerate ITC Limited, and its hospitality/hotel chain, from using the word Darjeeling in connection with its tea lounge. In its order dated 24 August 2011, the Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court upheld the earlier decision of the Single Judge (which we reported here and here), stating that the injunction had been refused on “well-established principles” and that the Board had failed to make out a prima facie case.

According to ET dated 7th March, 2013, the Tea Board suffered another setback when it was denied interim injunction by the Supreme Court. According to the report, the Tea Board unsuccessfully argued that the use of ‘Darjeeling’ as name of a lounge constituted dilution of the geographical indicator – as that particular lounge in ITC-owned Sonar Bangla served several beverages including Darjeeling tea. The Bench listed the matter for further hearing in October.

Assuming the veracity of the report, it is not possible to draw finite conclusions from an order rejecting / granting a temporary injunction – as the scope of such hearing is limited. In spite of my best efforts, I could not obtain the Order online. If anyone has the Order, please send it across.
Mathews P. George

Mathews P. George

Mathews is a graduate of National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata. His interest in intellectual property was kindled when he bagged the second position in his second year of Law School (in the prestigious Nani Palkhiwala Essay Competition on Intellectual Property). His stint as a student of Prof. Shamnad Basheer further accentuated his interest in intellectual property. Winner of almost a dozen essay competitions in his Law School days, he was involved in various research and policy initiatives relating to intellectual property. Mathews is, currently, based out of Munich, Germany. He had earlier done his LLM in 'IP and Competition Law' from Munich Intellectual Property Law Centre (jointly run by Max Plank Institute for Innovation and Competition, University of Augsburg, Technical University of Munich and George Washington University, Washington).

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