The Delhi High Court (HC) has permanently restrained the use of marks, including ‘Facecake,’ ‘Facebake,’ Facebook marks, the visual representation of Facebook, and other Facebook formative trademarks of the social media giant, in a Trademark Infringement suit filed by Meta (previously known as Facebook).
Justice Naveen Chawla has awarded nominal damages of Rs. 50,000 against the defendants and in favor of the American multinational technology conglomerate, Meta Inc. The Delhi HC has also directed the defendants to pay the amount of the trademark infringement lawsuit to the plaintiff, Meta.
Meta had moved to the Delhi HC after being aggrieved over the use of the ‘Facebake’ mark by defendant no. 1 Mr. Noufel Malol who was allegedly replicating the visual representation of Facebook by copying its look and feel, font, color scheme, and commercial impression, and was, therefore, deliberately trading off the significant goodwill established in Facebook marks.
The scenario mentioned above came into Meta’s knowledge when it saw the advertisement of the defendant’s Trademark Application in the Trade Marks Journal seeking Trademark Registration for its mark ‘Facebake.’
Meta had also initiated opposition proceedings against the said trademark application, claiming that the defendant’s use of the similar mark infringed upon its statutory and common law rights. It had further claimed that the defendant was involved in dilution, passing off, and unfair competition.
According to Meta, on service of the ad-interim order of injunction, the ‘Facebake’ mark was changed to ‘Facecake,’ which, in turn, was deceptively similar to Meta’s Facebook mark to the same extent.
The Delhi HC, in this matter, said it could never be disputed that Meta’s marks are well-known in India and that their overall reach and user base are pretty evident from the documents and info submitted by it. The Court further observed that Meta has all the trademark registrations in place in various classes of goods and the use of a similar mark undoubtedly amounts to unfair competition, which is and shall always be detrimental to the reputation and distinct character of Meta’s Facebook marks.
The Delhi HC also mentioned that though there is some distinction between Meta’s marks and those of the defendants, the visual representation of the marks adopted by the defendants depicts their mala fide intent in obtaining unfair advantage by using a mark similar to that of Meta. The Court even stated that the same results in dilution of Meta’s marks.
According to the Delhi HC, an unwary consumer might believe that the defendants, in this case, have some connection with Meta. Moreover, the mala fide intent of the defendants is pretty clear from the instance that upon knowing the ad-interim injunction passed by the Delhi HC, they changed their mark from ‘Facebake’ to ‘Facecake’ by changing only one letter but decided not to appear before the Court to defend the lawsuit in question. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com
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