Delhi High Court restrains NIC Natural Ice Cream from using the trademark Natural The matter is listed before the joint registrar on December 21 The Delhi High Court has granted an ex parte ad interim injunction in favor of the plaintiff Siddhant Ice Creams. It restrained the defendant from using the domain names nicicecreams.com and nicnaturalicecreams.com or any other domain name,...
Access the exclusive LEGAL ERAStories,Editorial and Expert Opinion
Delhi High Court restrains NIC Natural Ice Cream from using the trademark Natural
The matter is listed before the joint registrar on December 21
The Delhi High Court has granted an ex parte ad interim injunction in favor of the plaintiff Siddhant Ice Creams. It restrained the defendant from using the domain names nicicecreams.com and nicnaturalicecreams.com or any other domain name, email address, or handle comprising 'Natural' as a mark.
The single-judge bench of Justice Jyoti Singh held that the company made out a prima facie case for the grant of the injunction and if not granted, it was likely to suffer irreparable loss.
It directed the defendant to file its written statement within 30 days of the summons. The matter is listed before the Joint Registrar on December 21.
The plaintiff argued that 'Natural' and 'Naturals' were household names and attained the status of iconic brands for ice creams and ice cream-based products. These were sold in 42 locations across the country, including Delhi. The logo 'Natural' was created by the plaintiff and the registration was made in its adaptations/variations/extensions in classes including 30, 29, and 42 that were valid and subsisting.
The plaintiff established a network of 140 franchisees in cities across India and extensive advertisements were published on various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The sales increased steadily over the years and for the year 2022-2023, up to 30 September 2022, the franchises sold 31,14,666 kg of ice creams.
The plaintiff stated that the defendant, a former partner in one of the plaintiffs' franchisees, was wrongfully using the 'Natural' mark in relation to ice creams and related products. It argued that the defendant dishonestly registered the marks as 'NIC Natural Ice Creams' by incorporating the 'Natural' mark, which was essentially a part of the plaintiff's trademark.
It further claimed that the defendant was aware that 'NIC' was commonly used as an acronym for the 'Natural Ice Cream' business. In the mark, the defendant used an identical shade of green as the plaintiffs', which enhanced the similarity. It also used similar packaging for the products as the plaintiffs.
The result is that when a consumer Google searches for the defendant's ice cream products, the information on the plaintiff's 'Natural' ice cream business is reflected in the result page indicating an association.
The plaintiff stated, "The immense goodwill and reputation garnered by us is being encashed by the defendant to pass off its goods by misrepresenting to the consumers that the products of the defendant emanate from the plaintiffs."
The court, thus, held that till the next date of hearing the defendant was restrained from using the plaintiffs' marks 'Natural', 'Naturals' or 'NIC Natural Ice Creams' in any form or manner, including any marks identical or deceptively similar. It was also refrained from adopting the same color scheme, trade dress and packaging for the products, to avoid similarity.