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Bata’s Interim Win Over Rival Brand Leayan Global Pvt. Ltd.
Trademarkclick .com 23 May 2019

Bata’s Interim Win Over Rival Brand Leayan Global Pvt. Ltd.

Bata India Limited, a brand that has become extremely popular amongst the masses, has over the years, brought many suits against rival brands and other organizations. Very recently, it moved the High Court of Delhi against Leayan Global Pvt. Ltd., alleging infringement of its statutory and common law rights.

Leayan Global Pvt. Ltd. is the parent company of the shoe brand Red Chief, well known in the market for producing leather shoes. Its recent shoe line named as “Power Flex” has resulted in retaliation from Bata as the latter claims that the name “Power Flex” comes in direct conflict with its brand name “Power”. Therefore Bata, in the suit against Leayan Global Pvt. Ltd., has alleged infringement of trademark, passing off, unfair competition, damages, etc. with respect to its mark “Power”.

In the month of February this year, the High Court of Delhi passed an order of injunction against Red Chief restraining it from using the term “Power Flex” with respect to its products. However, it allowed Red Chief the use of the tagline “the power of real leather”. Greatly distressed by this interim order of the court, Red Chief moved an application seeking vacation of the said order.  Its case was that “Power Flex” and “the power of real leather” were derivative marks and were therefore not similar to Bata’s trademark “Power”. It further contended that the term “Power Flex” was always used in connection with Red Chief, and therefore, there was no scope of confusion between the products of the two brands. “Power Flex” was never used in isolation but was always accompanied with the tag of “Red Chief”, even when it appeared in advertisements in leading newspapers and airplane magazines. Red Chief also argued that “power” was a dictionary word and therefore, it was incapable of being exclusively monopolized by any one party. They argued that they were an independently popular brand themselves, and they had no intention to pass off their products as Bata’s. Further, Red Chief’s “Power Flex” and Bata’s “Power” are engaged in two different forms of shoes. The former is a line of leather shoes, while the latter is a collection of sports shoes and casual sneakers.

In a tragic outcome for Red Chief yet again, the court out rightly dismissed all of their submissions. The court observed that Red Chief was using the mark “Power Flex” inside its shoes on a standalone basis and therefore, its submission that it was never used in isolation, held no value. It also held that the apparent distinction existing between sports footwear and leather footwear was no distinction in the eyes of law, as the manufacturer of a product is entitled to a reasonable scope for expansion. Further, Red Chief was completely estopped from arguing that the word “power” was a dictionary word and could not be monopolized as it had itself applied for registration of the mark “Power Flex” in the year 2009.

Therefore, denying all the submissions of Red Chief, the court upheld its previous order of injunction against Red Chief from further using the term “Power Flex” in connection with any of its products. It however, allowed the use of the accompanying tagline that reads as “the power of real leather.” Red Chief has also been allowed to dispose of its existing stock by filing a monthly statement of disposal, including the value of the stock so sold, subject to the final adjudication in the suit.

Bata India Limited, a brand that has become extremely popular amongst the masses, has over the years, brought many suits against rival brands and other organizations. Very recently, it moved the High Court of Delhi against Leayan Global Pvt. Ltd., alleging infringement of its statutory and common law rights.

Leayan Global Pvt. Ltd. is the parent company of the shoe brand Red Chief, well known in the market for producing leather shoes. Its recent shoe line named as “Power Flex” has resulted in retaliation from Bata as the latter claims that the name “Power Flex” comes in direct conflict with its brand name “Power”. Therefore Bata, in the suit against Leayan Global Pvt. Ltd., has alleged infringement of trademark, passing off, unfair competition, damages, etc. with respect to its mark “Power”.

In the month of February this year, the High Court of Delhi passed an order of injunction against Red Chief restraining it from using the term “Power Flex” with respect to its products. However, it allowed Red Chief the use of the tagline “the power of real leather”. Greatly distressed by this interim order of the court, Red Chief moved an application seeking vacation of the said order.  Its case was that “Power Flex” and “the power of real leather” were derivative marks and were therefore not similar to Bata’s trademark “Power”. It further contended that the term “Power Flex” was always used in connection with Red Chief, and therefore, there was no scope of confusion between the products of the two brands. “Power Flex” was never used in isolation but was always accompanied with the tag of “Red Chief”, even when it appeared in advertisements in leading newspapers and airplane magazines. Red Chief also argued that “power” was a dictionary word and therefore, it was incapable of being exclusively monopolized by any one party. They argued that they were an independently popular brand themselves, and they had no intention to pass off their products as Bata’s. Further, Red Chief’s “Power Flex” and Bata’s “Power” are engaged in two different forms of shoes. The former is a line of leather shoes, while the latter is a collection of sports shoes and casual sneakers.

In a tragic outcome for Red Chief yet again, the court out rightly dismissed all of their submissions. The court observed that Red Chief was using the mark “Power Flex” inside its shoes on a standalone basis and therefore, its submission that it was never used in isolation, held no value. It also held that the apparent distinction existing between sports footwear and leather footwear was no distinction in the eyes of law, as the manufacturer of a product is entitled to a reasonable scope for expansion. Further, Red Chief was completely estopped from arguing that the word “power” was a dictionary word and could not be monopolized as it had itself applied for registration of the mark “Power Flex” in the year 2009.

Therefore, denying all the submissions of Red Chief, the court upheld its previous order of injunction against Red Chief from further using the term “Power Flex” in connection with any of its products. It however, allowed the use of the accompanying tagline that reads as “the power of real leather.” Red Chief has also been allowed to dispose of its existing stock by filing a monthly statement of disposal, including the value of the stock so sold, subject to the final adjudication in the suit.

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