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DETTOL v. DEVTOL- Delhi HC imposes fine for infringing the mark DETTOL

July 13, 2020

By Priya Adlakha and Kiratraj Sadana

The High Court of Delhi vide its order dated May 28, 2020 imposed a cost of Rs. One Lakh on the Defendant, Mohit Petrochemicals Pvt. Ltd. and restrained them from using the mark ‘DEVTOL’.

Brief Background

The Plaintiff, Reckitt Benckiser (India) Pvt. Ltd., is manufacturer of the famous antiseptic liquid sold under the mark ‘DETTOL’.

The Plaintiff preferred a suit against the Mohit Petrochemicals Pvt. Ltd. for selling hand sanitisers under the mark and logo ‘DEVTOL’ and alleged that the impugned mark was deceptively similar to the Plaintiff’s registered mark and logo ‘DETTOL’.

In view of the similarity between the Plaintiff’s and Defendant’s mark and the nature of products being sold by both the parties, the Plaintiff sought the relief of injunction against the Defendants to restrain them from infringing the Plaintiff’s Trademark.

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Defendant’s Submissions

The Counsel for the Defendants appeared on advance notice and stated that the Defendants have agreed to stop manufacturing and selling their hand sanitizer under the infringing mark ‘DEVTOL’.

The Defendants further submitted that they have already filed a letter to the Trade Mark Authority on May 23, 2020 to withdraw their application for the infringing mark and have also written to their agents and dealers to withdraw the product bearing the infringing mark from the market.

Plaintiff Submissions

In view of the submissions made by the Defendants, the Plaintiff prayed that the suit may be decreed in favour of the Plaintiff and against the Defendant. However, the counsel for the Plaintiff insisted that a cost may be imposed on the Defendant.

Court’s Decision

In view of the submissions made by both the parties, the Hon’ble Delhi High Court decreed the suit in favour of the Plaintiff, restraining the Defendants from using the impugned mark DEVTOL and ordered the Defendants to recall their existing stocks from the market.

The Court further directed the Defendants to deposit a sum of Rs. 1,00,000 (Rupees One Lakh) to the Juvenile Justice Foundation in the name of the Registrar General, High Court of Delhi, New Delhi as cost.

Conclusion

In this pandemic, when every person is extra careful about hygiene and there is a rampant spread of misinformation, a few opportunistic minds are trying to capitalise on this situation. In this case, the Defendant had the simple agenda on free riding on the goodwill of an already established brand.

The rise in demand of protective apparatus and cleaning products during this pandemic, has also triggered an influx of counterfeit masks, sanitisation products and PPE kits s in the market, which may not necessarily be manufactured according to the set safety standards. Read more about this here.

It is a set principle of Trademark law, that two products are compared from the eyes of a person with an average mind with an average power of recollection. In that case, if a person who is buying a sanitiser for the first time comes across the Defendant’s product, then he is bound to be confused and establish an association with the Plaintiff’s well-established and well trusted product.

Also read:

Proliferation of Counterfeits during COVID-19

Rise of Counterfeit PPE kits in India

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