The matter in this case is about two rival trademarks “SERO” Vs. “SERON”
– Whether the trademark held by the plaintiff has been infringed?
– Whether the copyright held by the plaintiff has been infringed?
The plaintiff, a registered partnership firm, was involved in manufacturing business, of garment
products and fashion wear, primarily for men. As a brand, one of its trademarks happened to be
“SERO”. The defendant, a sole proprietorship concern, adopted the label “SERON” for the
clothing sold by Aristo Apparels. The plaintiff placed the claim that such a label used by the
defendant was deceptively similar to the mark “SERO”, infringing their trademark and the
copyright in the artistic model of their mark.
The Court firstly compared the artistic work which served as the mark of the plaintiff and the
defendant’s mark. As described by the Court, it was seen that Plaintiff’s mark had an oval design
that was tilted, in which the cursive version of the alphabet “S” was placed. This mark had a
white border and one portion of it was blue in colour while the other part was red. The
defendant’s mark consisted of a similarly stylized “S” set inside a circle, which was also tilted.
As seen in the plaintiff’s mark, one portion of the artistic work was red and the other portion was
blue. The border was black in colour. Along with such similarity witnessed in the artistic nature
of the mark, the Court also noted that the defendant had merely added the letter “N” to the name
of the plaintiff’s work. These similarities were witnessed in the same class of goods, i.e.,
readymade clothes for men.
As claimed by the plaintiff, the Court accepted that “SERO” is a coined work, and the registered
trademark in the same, gave proprietary rights in it to the plaintiff. The plaintiff managed to
establish the positive reputation and goodwill that their firm and products possessed. Hence this
portrayed the distinctiveness of the mark and sense of unique identification that could be
attributed to their firm. It was established by the plaintiff that the defendant had prior knowledge
about the existence and market presence of the plaintiff’s trademark, as it was noted that the
defendant went on to use his mark and sell products even after he had applied for a registration
for the label “SERON” in class 25 of the Trademarks Act. This was conclusive proof of the fact
that the defendant must have gained awareness about the registered trademark for “SERO.” The
Court held that such visual and phonetic similarity between the two marks amounted to a
trademark infringement on part of the defendant. On account of the copyright possessed by the
plaintiff in the artistic work of the mark, the Court held that this was also a subject of the
infringement, in lieu of the defendant’s act of printing such a mark on his products and selling
Hence the Court made an ad-interim order, issuing an injunction directing the defendants to
refrain from using any mark similar to that of “SERO”, such that the trademark and copyright
possessed by the plaintiff would be infringed. The Court Receiver was directed to seize and seal
every offending product that the Defendant stored, as empowered under Order XL Rule 1 of the
Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
The facts, circumstances and decision in this case showcases a classic instance of willfully
undertaken efforts to make use of the good will, reputation and intellectual property rights
possessed by another, and pass off goods or services. The Court’s act of delivering the order after
noting that the defendant had not responded in spite of having been served twice, is an
appreciable pursuit, restoring faith in the judicial system.
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