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Apollo Hospitals & Enterprises
Mahesh Apollo Pharmacy
The case study presented hereafter shows yet again an example of how intellectual property is stolen and exploited by people wanting to earn quick money and how vigilance of the registered trademark owners can help protect their intellectual property from being exploited economically. The current case focuses on the court’s decision, wherein it granted permanent injunction in favour of the plaintiff, who was a prior adopter and user of his registered trademark ‘APOLLO’. An important element was kept in focus by the jury in deciding the infringement. The current article discloses the same.
Brief facts of the case:
Apollo Hospitals & Enterprises filed a case of infringement and passing off of goods and services for their registered trademark ‘Apollo’ and ‘Apollo Pharmacy’ against Mahesh Apollo Pharmacy for using their registered trademark identically and/or deceptively.
The plaintiff in the present case claimed that it is a multi-specialty service provider in the field of health care. The chain of the plaintiff in providing health care services ranges from diagnostic clinics to multispecialty hospitals. It also has many training institutes and pharmacies under its umbrella. The plaintiff claimed that all of these services provided by the plaintiff have been covered under its registered Trade Mark ‘Apollo’, alone and jointly with other marks. Hence, this is the reason the plaintiff came about to file a Civil Suit to restrain the defendants from exploiting the use of their well known and registered trademark, on account of it being an identical and/or deceptively similar mark.
The plaintiff contented that the defendant had made use of his trademark ‘Apollo’ by using a different prefix along with it, which formed as “Mahesh Apollo Pharmacy”. The plaintiff also presented the signboard of the defendants which showed clearly the word Mahesh being sidelined and Apollo Pharmacy being emphasized.
It is also stated by the plaintiff that in all its hospitals, pharmacies and allied services, the registered trademark Apollo has been used by him. The plaintiff claimed that it has nearly 350 Apollo Pharmacies in multiple prime locations along with a number of Apollo general and special hospitals, Apollo clinics/ diagnostic centers. The plaintiff submitted that the defendant with a malafide intention of usurping the goodwill and reputation accrued by the plaintiff, have willfully chosen identically, deceptively, phonetically, structurally and visually similar mark to the plaintiff’s registered trademark Apollo..
The court after making out a prima facie case of the plaintiff, served summons on the defendant and it was noted by the Hon’ble High Court that no appearance was entered by the defendants. The defendant was declared as absent and evidence was taken ex parte on record by the Hon’ble Court. The plaintiff’s counsel left no evidence unturned before the Court to prove the plaintiff’s right to restrain any infringers from using its registered trademark having a wide goodwill and well known status. Amongst the evidences produced before the Hon’ble Court, a sign board displaying the defendant’s mark was shown, in which the word MAHESH was sidelined whereas the words APOLLO PHARMACY were emphasized.
Issues before the Court:
The Ld. Counsel on behalf of the Appellant argued on 4 major points:
- Whether the plaintiff is a registered owner of trademark Apollo, Apollo Pharmacy and Apollo Hospital?.
- Whether the defendant had deceptively used and adopted the plaintiff’s registered trademark in respect of medicinal and pharmaceutical services?
- Whether the plaintiff is entitled to get a judgment and decree as prayed for?
- Is the plaintiff entitled to get any other relief/s as prayed for?
The Hon’ble Court after observing all the aspects of the contentions and evidences produced before it came to the following conclusions on the above issues.
The court in its learned decision declared that the plaintiff had been using the trademark Apollo in different classes since the year 1988 and the trademark registration certificates gives the plaintiff proprietary rights. Due to quality services rendered from many years the trademark of the plaintiff have acquired the status of well known and have got an immense goodwill to its name. The court held that it was evident from the signboard of the defendant that the word Mahesh was sidelined and Apollo Pharmacy was accentuated. Not only were the words deceptively and/ or identically similar to the trademark of the plaintiff’s but also the colour combination was strikingly identical to that of the plaintiff’s. It was noted that as the defendant did not even file their appearance it clearly showed their malafide and fraudulent intentions in exploiting the trademark of the plaintiff. A permanent injunction was granted in favour of the plaintiff, restraining the defendant and all person authorized by him to use or to pass off any goods or services by the trademark APOLLO or any other mark that may be deceptively, phonetically and structurally similar to that of the plaintiff. The defendants were asked to submit all the accounts of profits to the plaintiff and were asked to surrender any or all materials that may have been used for invoicing or advertising.
Contributed By : Rashida Baji (Advocate)
Designed By : Vikash Singh