Godrej Soaps Pvt. Ltd. Vs. Dora Cosmetics Co. (AIR 1996 Cal 367)
This case was related to the infringement of copyright. Delhi High Court decided the case in favor of the plaintiff. The suit was decreed ex-parte against the defendant due to the non-appearance of the defendant and no evidence was led by the defendant.
Following are the brief facts of this case;
- That the case was instituted by Godrej Soaps (P) Ltd. hereinafter called “Plaintiff”, who is manufacturer and trader of the soaps.
- That in this particular case plaintiff alleged Dora Cosmetics Co. hereinafter called “Defendant” for the infringement of the copyright owned by the plaintiff.
- That toilet soaps under the trademark ‘CROWNING GLORY’ was manufactured and sold by the plaintiffs. The trademark is registered and valid.
- Those cartons of Crowning Glory soaps were created by a private company named M/s. Chaitra Advertising Private Ltd. and by virtue of a Deed of Assignment the copyright and the carton so created were assigned for a consideration of Rs 20,000/- only.
- Now as the result of the same the plaintiff is the owner of the copyright in carton created by above mentioned hence plaintiff has the exclusive right to use and reproduce the cartons.
- That it was alleged by the plaintiffs that the defendant copied the trademark Glory and created the identical carton for an identical product which caused the infringement of plaintiff’s copyright.
- That the defendant denied the allegations and claims against it made by the plaintiff.
- That the mark ‘GLORY’ has been used and is being used by the defendants since long and carton of Crowning Glory of the plaintiff is not distinctive.
- That with respect to vanishing cream mark Glory is being used by the defendants and before them, it was being used by M/s. Gopalji & Co. till 1976. Since 1976 till date, the defendant had been using the same color combination on the tubes and cartons of the creams used by them.
- That they used various trademarks such as Dora, Sharmila, Glory, and Shimmar in respect of cosmetic goods and vanishing cream since 1976.
- That when M/s. Gopalji & Co. transferred trademark rights of GLORY in June 1976 in favor of the defendants the same submitted an application dated 10th June 1976 before the Drugs Controller for transfer of the aforesaid license in favor of M/s. Dora Cosmetic Co. for manufacturing the goods.
- That the defendant prayed for the dismissal of the suit as there was no copyright of plaintiff existing as per the contentions made by the defendant.
- That the defendant did not appear to lead any evidence at the time of recording of evidence and the evidence was closed for the defendant. Even at the time of final hearing of the case, no one appeared on behalf of the defendant.
Following issues were framed in the instant matter:
(1) Whether the mark GLORY and the related carton of the plaintiffs earned reputation amongst the public and the trade concerned?
(2) Whether the copyright was there available to plaintiffs in the Crowning Glory carton as well as the Glory logo?
(3) Whether there can be passing off by the confusion and deception by the use of mark glory in respect of vanishing cream?
(4) Whether the plaintiff’s copyright in the Crowning Glory carton and the Glory logo was infringed by the defendant?
Judgment and Decision
- The suit was decreed against the defendant and in favor of the plaintiff.
- Delhi high court held that the defendant did not appear at the time of record of evidence no evidence was led on behalf of the defendant in his defense.
- It was held by the court that the plaintiff proved his case beyond reasonable doubt evidence in support of the case are unrebutted by the defendants, hence the plaintiff is entitled to succeed.
- The reasons behind the approach of the court are: that plaintiff proved by evidence that the mark Crowning Glory and the distinctive carton created by M/s. Chaitra Advertising Private Ltd. has acquired substantial reputation and goodwill among the consumers in the market.
- That the plaintiff’s logo is distinguished and people recognize the same as different.
- That the defendant in support of his defense did not disclose any particulars and did not file any copy of the trademark or copyright registration to prove his case.
- Regarding the issue no. 1 it was held by the court that the defendant not only copied the mark Glory but also the script of the plaintiff and the colors scheme of logo and profile of a lady.
- Regarding issue no.2 court held that carton was designed by Mr. Dayal Patkar who was the employee of Chaitra Advertising Private Limited and there was a contract of service between the same and the plaintiff. Such artistic work of designing the carton of crowning glory was on behalf of the plaintiff.
- Hence, the plaintiff is the legal owner of the product and has an equitable title in the same and the plaintiff has the copyright in carton and logo as well.
- Regarding issue, no.3 court held that the Glory mark and the carton of the plaintiff is use to identify the plaintiff’s product. The words Glory is depicted more prominently and clearly than the word crowning on the product. Hence defendant’s product is misleading and similar to that of plaintiff. It is proved that the defendant is passing of its goods and business as it to be of plaintiff’s.
- Regarding issue no.4 court held it is clear from the pieces of evidence and documents produced by the plaintiff that the sole and exclusive owner of the copyright in the carton of Crowning Glory is the plaintiff. Evidences were led to prove the substantial similarity in the defendant’s carton to that of the plaintiff. Hence, it is proved that the defendant has infringed the copyright of the plaintiff in the Crowning Glory carton and the Glory logo.