The Delhi high court has vacated a single judge bench order which had restrained Nestle from using ‘a+’ mark on products other than milk and dahi in a suit filed by Nestle against Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Limited which was applying the said mark ‘A+’ to cheese slices in combination with their brand name ‘Amul’.
The order was passed by a division bench comprising Justice G.S. Sistani and Justice Jyoti Singh on 10TH July.
The suit pertains to the trademark ‘A+/a+’ used by the parties. The suit was filed by Nestle to restrain Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Limited from using the trademark ‘A+’ with or without any prefix or suffix in respect of cheese, packaged milk or any other milk products.
Nestle is selling milk and dahi (yogurt) under the sub-brand ‘a+’ in conjunction with their brand ‘Nestlé’; while the Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Limited were applying the said mark ‘A+’ to cheese slices in combination with their brand name ‘Amul’.
Nestle had preferred an appeal against the single judge bench order which had directed the parties to maintain status quo and sought for an interim injunction against the defendants from using the mark ‘A+’ in milk or milk products. It had alternatively sought vacation of the impugned order which restricted it from using their mark ‘A+/a+’ for goods it is registered for.
The single judge bench had ordered: “In view of the above, the order dated 30.05.2012, is made absolute and both parties are directed to maintain status quo about the use of sub-brand “A+” in relation to the respective goods that the parties were manufacturing as of the said date, during the pendency of the Suit. ”
“The Single Judge has incorrectly applied the parameters for granting interim reliefs. The single Judge while doubting a prima facie case in favour of the plaintiffs has proceeded to pass interim orders nonetheless. Interestingly, no appeal has been preferred by the defendants. The defendants have been unable to show as to how any interim order could have been passed against the plaintiffs. The judgments relied upon by the defendants could have come to their aid provided they had themselves approached the court, which is not the case. Thus, the alternative prayer of the plaintiffs is liable to be allowed. Accordingly, the appeal is partly allowed. The impugned order, to the extent it directs the plaintiffs to maintain status quo about the use of ‘A+/a+’ in respect of goods being manufactured on 30.05.2012, is set aside. It is clarified that the order directing status quo against the defendants remains unaffected,” the division bench order reads.