‘Nation Wants To Know' Tagline Dispute Ends as Delhi High Court Dismisses Times Group's Contempt Plea against Republic TV
On Wednesday, the Delhi High Court closed a case of contempt of court that had been brought forth by Bennett Coleman & Co (Times Group) against Republic TV and its Editor-in-Chief, Arnab Goswami (the defendants).
The allegations pertained to the defendants' supposed disregard for the court's previous instructions concerning the use of the tagline 'Nation Wants To Know' by Republic TV. This case was settled under the matter titled Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd v. ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd.
The Times Group decided to withdraw their plea following the observations made by Justice C Hari Shankar, wherein he noted that Republic TV's use of the tagline appeared to adhere to the boundaries set by the Court's order from October 2020.
On October 23, 2020, the Delhi High Court issued an interim injunction that prohibited ARG Outlier Media, the entity behind Republic TV, from using the trademark 'News Hour'.
The Court, however, had declined to issue a provisional order pertaining to the tagline 'Nation Wants To Know'. The Court had documented Times Group's declaration during this process that Arnab Goswami was at liberty to incorporate the same tagline in his speech or presentation on any news channel and similar platforms.
The Court had additionally stated that if Republic TV decides to use the tagline as a trademark for any of their products or services, they should keep records of such usage and consistently submit them through affidavits.
Afterward, Times Group lodged a contempt of court application under Order XXXIX Rule 2A of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), asserting that ARG had contravened the order issued in October 2020. This violation pertained to the usage of the tagline 'Nation Wants To Know' as a trademark by ARG, along with their failure to adhere to the Court's instruction to keep and submit accounts for such usage.
Lawyers representing the Times Group contended that the defendants were employing the tagline 'Nation Wants To Know' in a manner that linked it to Arnab Goswami.
Representing the defendant Republic TV, Senior Advocate Malvika Trivedi countered this argument and presented the viewpoint that the 2020 order explicitly documented their authorisation to use the tagline as an element of speeches or news presentations.
On August 23, the Court acknowledged that its October 2020 directive had permitted Republic TV to use the tagline for activities such as speeches or news presentations. The Court also pointed out that, during the consideration of an application under Order XXXIX Rule 2A, it was not within its purview to ascertain whether the tagline's usage constitutes trademark infringement. Instead, the Court's task was solely to assess if there had been a breach of the previous order.
Times Group withdrew the contempt of court plea after the Court ruled that there was no case of contempt against the defendants since the tagline was used within possible limits. The Court then proceeded to close the case.
Advocates Manish Kumar Mishra, Hemant Singh, Mamta Rani Jha, Pragya Jain, and Saumya Khandelwal represented the Times Group in the case while Republic TV was represented by Senior Advocate Malvika Trivedi, along with advocates Rahul Tyagi and Diya Dutta.