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.
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