PLEX Vs ZEE PLEX - A Trademark Tug of War
"The Plaintiff (PLEX) Moved An Application Of Injunction Restraining The Defendant (ZEE Cinema) To Use The Name ZEE PLEX In Their Upcoming Launch. The Court Denied The Injunction Stating That The Application Was Unwarranted And There Were No Legitimate Grounds For Challenging The Launch Of ZEE PLEX By The Defendant".
On September 1, 2020, ZEE Cinema had notified that they would launch their Cinema in House product on October 2, 2020- under the brand name "ZEE PLEX". The product's concept is that the customers will have to pay an amount to watch movies to be released in the market. The customers will have to pay per view- that is, the one-time payment will "bringing theatre experience at home."
A week before the launch, the plaintiff filed an application of injunction restraining the defendants from launching the product in the market because: Upon the launch- The Product (ZEE PLEX) will create the impression that PLEX and ZEE PLEX are a tie-up company, and it will create confusion in the minds of the public that might damage the reputation of the PLEX Company.
The plaintiff further added that they had obtained a trademark for the brand PLEX in several jurisdictions but not INDIA. However, they have a prior user advantage since they have been in the market since 2008. After several contentions, the Court observed no similarity in both the companies' business- one is engaged in media to serve business and others in streaming the movies. There cannot be any scope of confusion in public minds, so there lies no ground or case of infringement.
The Court also observed that the plaintiff had enough time to approach the Court ever since the defendant had notified about the launch, but the plaintiff had been reluctant in filing the case, and on the eleventh hour of the time, seeks to file was a restraining order, thereby causing a delay in hearing of other important matters. This leads to grave injustice to other matters that require the attention of the Court.
To quote the words of Justice G.S.Patel: "Where a plaintiff has had enough notice and yet chooses to move at the eleventh hour - and makes no allowance at all for any adjustment that may be required - the plaintiff must be prepared to face the consequences." Therefore, the Court made it very clear that- in case of such happenings, its better never than too late, the plaintiff will have to face the consequences for irreparable loss of time of the Court and compensate for the loss of time and money of the defendant. The Court was generous and had issued a warning to the plaintiff,
but others might not have the same luck. It is not always the saying: better late than never proves to be correct- at least when it comes to the country's limitation law or, for that matter, when it comes while dealing with such unwarranted cases.
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