In the last week of February, the Delhi High Court passed its order in the case of M/s GATI Ltd. v. GATI DANCE FORUM which dealt primarily with the issue of an interim injunction in a suit for trademark infringement.
The plaintiff is a company providing cargo management services operating under the name ‘GATI Desk to Desk Cargo’ based in Andhra Pradesh. The plaintiff which began operations in 1989 has specialized in point to point distribution of cargo services where the plaintiff picks up the cargo from the customers’ door and delivers it to the doorstep of the consignee. The plaintiff has registered the term ‘GATI’ as a trademark and trade name in 2004. In any event, GATI has been the trade name of the plaintiff since its initiation of business in 1989 and has continued since its incorporation in 1995. The defendant is a non-charitable trust that is dedicated to supporting, facilitation and promoting artists in the field of dance. They have a website named www.gatidance,com wherein the term ‘GATI’ is displayed prominently and is employed by the defendant as their trade name.
The plaintiff submits that the usage of the term ‘GATI’ by the defendant as its trade name is a bid to deceive customers and take unfair advantage of the goodwill and reputation of the plaintiff. Therefore, the plaintiff contends that this is an unauthorized use of the plaintiff’s trademark which is detrimental to its interests.
The defendant, on the other hand, contended that no confusion or deception would be caused to any average customer of average intelligence as the goods and services provided by both the plaintiff and the defendant belong to entirely different classes, namely, cargo services of a commercial nature by the plaintiff and educational and training in cultural activities of a non-commercial nature by the defendant.
The Court noted that GATI was a common Hindi/ Sanskrit word meaning ‘movement’ and therefore, cannot be claimed to have been coined or invented by the plaintiff. Moreover, there are numerous companies using the term GATI for various services as demonstrated by a search at the Indian Trademark Office. The services provided by the plaintiff and defendant are entirely different with no similarity in even the trade channels. In such a situation, the Court held that the chances of confusion and deception in the minds of the customers of either of the businesses were minimal. Thus, the Court declined to issue an interim injunction in favour of the plaintiff in this matter.