Jurisdiction - India
India – An Officer, A Collector, Some Whisky And An Injunction.

8 October, 2014


Legal News & Analysis – Asia Pacific  India – Intellectual Property


M/S ALLIED BLENDERS & DISTILLERS are the registered proprietors of the trademark ‘Officer’s Choice’. The mark has been used by the plaintiff to market their brand of Whisky since 1988 and the plaintiff obtained registration in 2007. In 2013, the plaintiff found out that M/S. SHREE NATH HERITAGE LIQUOR PVT. LTD., the defendant, had started selling its brand of whisky under the trademark ‘Collector’s Choice’. Litigation ensued and the Plaintiff prayed for grant of an injunction against the Defendant. 

Plaintiff’s Case

The Plaintiff argued that the Defendant was aware of the Plaintiffs mark (cited awareness of the same in their answer to an objection raised). There was nothing on record to show that the Defendant intended to market their product as a collector’s item. The Defendants had admitted that a Collector is an Officer (A District Collector, also referred to simply Collector, is the chief administrative and revenue officer of an Indian district. The Collector is also referred to as the District Magistrate, Deputy Commissioner and, in some districts, as Deputy Development Commissioner). Hence the plaintiff argued that the defendant dishonestly used a mark similar to its mark. 

Defendants Case

The defendant contended that Plaintiff did not have any monopoly over the word choice as the same had been disclaimed by the Plaintiff. And since the words Collector and Officer are not phonetically similar or even visually similar for that matter, the only common word is Choice and as such, the marks are not deceptively similar. 

Court’s Ruling

The court upheld the plaintiff’s arguments and relied on consumer psychology and associative thinking in order to come to the conclusion that a ‘Collector’ could be confused with an ‘Officer’. The court upheld the arguments of the plaintiff and held that Officer’s Choice and Collector’s Choice could lead to a likelihood of confusion among consumers. Injunction was therefore granted.




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