In a recent ruling, the Delhi High Court has awarded an ex parte ad interim injunction in favour of 'Burger King' in the trademark infringement suit filed by it against misuse of its registered trademarks in domain names. Justice Jyoti Singh has prohibited the defendants from promoting, offering any goods or services, using or registering corporate names, domain names or pages displaying the trademarks Burger King, BK or any mark deceptively similar to it, in a single-judge bench judgement. (Burger King Corporation v. Swapnil Patil & Ors.)
In the plea, Burger King contended that since starting its business in Miami, Florida in 1954, it has become the second largest quick service restaurant hamburger Company in the world, managing and operating a worldwide chain of over 18,000 quick service restaurants serving more than 11 million customers daily in nearly 100 nations. It was argued that the Burger King trademark/name has been widely used in connection with restaurants and restaurant services since 1954, along with a distinctive logo that has evolved over time. Furthermore, it was argued that Burger King is more than just a trademark or service mark; it's a visible aspect of the company's trading style. 'Burger King' and its abbreviation, "BK" are easily recognisable by the plaintiff, its company, goods, and services.
Because of this, Burger King's reputation and goodwill have grown throughout the world, including in India, according to the plaintiff. It is well-known in India that the well-known trademarks BK, Burger King, and the logos are associated exclusively with the Plaintiff, particularly in the field of restaurant services. The plaintiff's trademarks, which have been in use for a long time and are well-known to the public, including the Indian population, are well-known to the public.
The defendants are accused of using deceptive and misleading domain names to defraud customers. They're also lying when they say that anyone can apply for a Burger King franchise. The defendants are said to operate in a highly secretive manner, and their website does not include their correct address, in an attempt to mislead consumers into believing that their actions are sanctioned by the plaintiff.
It is obvious that these defendants are part of the same organisation or, in some cases, the same person, given their method of operation and the near-identicality of the documents they sent via email to various unaware customers. In order to maximise traffic and give their victims confidence in the legitimacy of their website, the main defendants apply for and obtain registration of
The website prominently displays the Plaintiff's registered trademarks - Burger King, BK, and the Crescent Design Logo - in order to maintain its pretence of legitimacy, the Court was informed. On its website, they also used photos of the plaintiff's overseas restaurants to entice prospective franchisees to apply.
According to the plaintiff's counsel, the alleged misuse of their trademark without their consent harms both their goodwill and reputation as well as the public interest. They want this alleged misuse of their trademark stopped.
The Delhi HC concluded that the plaintiff had put out a prima facie case for an ex parte ad interim injunction and that it should be granted. The Plaintiff has a strong cause for an injunction, and they are likely to suffer irreparable injury if it is denied. Additionally, it requested that Burger King comply with the requirements of Order 39 Rule 3 of the CPC within fourteen days.