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In A Win For Facebook, Delhi HC Restricts Bengaluru Business From Using 'Facebake', 'Facecake' Trademarks

Post Time:2022-07-14 Source:bestmediainfo.com Author: Views:

The Delhi High Court has disallowed a Bengaluru-based business from using the brand names- 'facebake' and 'facecake' in one of its recent judgements in a trademark infringement suit filed by Meta, formerly known as Facebook.

The suit pertained to illegal usage of brand trademarks and visual presentation related to the social media giant.

Along with permanent restrain, the defendants were also charged with nominal damages of Rs 50,000 by Justice Navin Chawla, as per a report by Live Law. In its order, the court has also directed Meta's legal fees to be reimbursed by the defendants and also disallowed the defendants from using the domain name www.facebake.in.

Meta filed a complaint with the Court against defendant no. 1, namely Noufel Malol for allegedly mimicking the visual presentation of Facebook. Meta alleged Malol of copying the colour scheme, font, commercial impression, and overall look and feel, and thus intentionally trading off the significant goodwill established in "Facebook" insignia.

The above-mentioned activity came to Meta's attention when it came across an advertisement in the Trade Marks Journal in an application filed by defendant no. 1 seeking registration of its mark "Facebake."

The plaintiff had also objected to the said application, claiming that the defendants' use of the similar mark was an infringement of its statutory and common law rights, as well as passing off, dilution, and unfair competition. The plaintiff also added that after the ad-interim order of command was served, the Facebake mark was changed to Facecake, which was deceptively similar to the Meta's "Facebook" mark.

The court ruled that it could not be disputed as Meta's marks were well-known in India and its user base and reach were evident from the documents filed by it.

"The plaintiff also has obtained registrations of its marks for various classes of goods and the use of a similar mark without due cause would certainly amount to unfair competition, which is detrimental to the distinct character and reputation of the plaintiff's 'Facebook' marks,” the court observed.

The court observed that while there was some distinction between the plaintiff's and defendants' marks, the overall visual representation adopted by the defendants clearly depicted the defendants' mala fide intent in obtaining an unfair advantage through the use of a mark similar to that of Meta. The Court also remarked that this results in the dilution of Meta's mark.

"It can lead to an unwary consumer being at least interested in taking note of the defendants as having some kind of connection with the plaintiff. The mala fide intent of the defendants is also evident from the fact that upon the knowledge of the ad-interim injunction passed by this Court, the defendants changed the mark from 'facebake' to 'facecake', thereby changing only one alphabet, however, chose not to appear before this Court to defend the suit in spite of service," it added.