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Friday, 30 May 2008

Indian Supreme Court fails to hit the bottle

The IPKat has learnt from Times of India that lovers of finest Indian whisky can breath a sigh of relief. The Indian Supreme Court has ruled that Indian distiller Khoday India Ltd remains at liberty to sell its whisky under the Peter Scot name. In a case which took only 20 years to proceed through the Indian judicial system, the Scotch Whisky Association challenged the Peter Scot trade marks, which was registered in 1974. Khoday argued that because the SWA waited 13 years to challenge the trade mark, its claim was time-barred.

Reports don't make it clear whether the Supreme Court decided in Khoday's favour because consumers just wouldn't be confused, or because the SWA waited so long to bring its action. The IPKat though can see the merits of the reasoning based on lapse of time. If an IP owner knows that someone else may be infringing its IP, but stands by and watches as that someone invests extensively in a business built on that IP, it is unconscionable for the IP owner to decide to challenge the business at a much later date.

1 comment:

Shamnad Basheer said...

Dear Ilanah,

The decision was based more on "delay" and consequent "acquiescence/waiver".

Nonetheless, Justice Sinha of the Indian SC (who wrote this judgment) also suggests a lack of "confusion" in the light of the existence of "sophisticated" Scotch whisky consumers in India--though he does not elaborate much on this point.

We have blogged on this case on SpicyIP:



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