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HC declares VISTARA as a well-known mark, holds that use of similar mark in unrelated services can create confusion

Tata Sia Airlines Ltd. vs. M/S Pilot18 Aviation Book Store & Anr

Tata Sia Airlines Limited (Plaintiff) is the owner of VISTARA mark in India in classes 12, 39, 21, 25, 27 and 28 and is using the said mark since 2014 for its airline services. It has filed present suit seeking permanent injunction restraining infringement of its registered trademarks, dilution, damages, rendition of account etc. 

Plaintiff got to know in February 2019 that M/s Pilot18 Aviation Book Store (Defendant 1) and Mr. Aanand Keerthy (Defendant 2) were selling VISTARA branded products on their website and various other e-commerce portals. After investigation, it was also revealed that Defendants have claimed that they were supplying VISTARA branded products to the Plaintiff which is incorrect. 

The Court vide order dated 26th March 2019 restrained the Defendants from manufacturing, selling, offering for sale, or dealing in any manner whatsoever with any VISTARA branded products, or any other mark or logo similar to VISTARA mark/logo. 

Defendants plea that they have never sold any products bearing the mark VISTARA was found to be contrary to the report submitted by the Local Commissioner. He made the inventory list of the products bearing VISTARA mark. The said list included products such as clips, cufflinks, bag tags, stickers etc bearing the brand name VISTARA.

On 25th July 2019, Defendant No. 2 in his statement admitted that he was selling goods bearing VISTARA brand name. He also admitted that he was using names of Jet Airways, Indigo, Spice Jet and Air India as well. However, he has stopped selling any products with the trademarks of airlines. 

This statement was contrary to the written statement filed by Defendant 2. This made Court observe that Defendants are not just liable to be permanently injuncted but also need to pay costs and damages. Court further went on to direct the Defendants to pay Rs. 2 lakhs to the Plaintiff in 1 month as costs. Court also held that making incorrect statement in the written statement constitutes perjury before this Court and shall consider any further action in the next hearing. 

Further, Court observed that “VISTARA is a popular brand in India and has acquired a unique status It enjoys enormous goodwill and reputation in the airline, travel and tourism industry. Use of this mark, even in respect of unrelated services would create confusion and deception. It deserves to be declared as a ‘well-known mark’. “

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