ISKCON trademark has acquired immense reputation: HC

Mumbai, Jun 28 (PTI) The Bombay High Court has said the ISKCON, a registered trademark of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, has acquired immense reputation in India and abroad and there can be no doubt it is associated with the religious movement and no one else.

The trademark undoubtedly deserves the highest degree of protection, Justice B P Colabawalla said on Friday while hearing a commercial intellectual property (IP) suit filed by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) against an apparel manufacturing company Iskcon Apparel Pvt Ltd.

The ISKCON alleged that the apparel company had infringed its registered trademark to sell clothes online.

The suit sought the court to direct the apparel company from infringing on the religious movement's trademark.

It also sought a declaration that their trademark 'ISKCON' was well-known in India, considering the nature of services offered by them and the kind of wide reputation and goodwill that has been acquired by them.

The defendant, Iskcon Apparel Pvt Ltd, informed the court on Friday that it has now changed its name to Alcis Sports Pvt Ltd, and submitted an undertaking that it would not use the trademark or name ISKCON in future.

The court in its order declared ISKCON as a 'well- known' trademark in India under the Trade Marks Act, 1999.

It is clear that ISKCON is a coined trademark of the plaintiff and the term did not exist prior to the plaintiffs adoption and use of the same, it noted.

Since it is a coined trade mark which is associated exclusively with the plaintiff, it undoubtedly deserved the highest degree of protection, Justice Colabawalla said in his order.

The court added that the plaintiffs trademark ISKCON has acquired immense and long-standing reputation and goodwill in India and abroad and there can be no doubt that it is associated with the plaintiff and no one else.

'I have no doubt in mind that the plaintiffs trade mark ISKCON has come to enjoy a personality that is beyond mere products/services rendered thereunder and the recognition, reputation and goodwill of the trade mark ISKCON is today no longer restricted to any particular class of goods or services, the court said.

The court further said the plaintiffs trademark ISKCON has wide acceptability and its popularity extends not only in India, but also abroad.

As per the plea, ISKCON was founded in 1966 in USA and within a short span of time, the said movement spread all over the world and gained immense popularity and fame.

The first ISKCON temple was constructed in India in 1971.

The plea said presently there are more than 600 ISKCON temples all over the world, including India. PTI SP GK GK