HC relief to Kuoni Travel in trademark case

Written by Indu Bhan | Indu Bhan | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 16 2012, 09:03am hrs
The Delhi High Court has restrained a Ghaziabad firm, its associates and distributors from using travel and tourism company Kuoni Travel (India) Pvt Ltds registered trademark SITA or domain name sitaexpedition.com or any other name incorporating the word SITA.

Justice Kailash Gambhir, in an exparte interim order, has restrained Sita Expedition Pvt Ltd from advertising in any manner and carrying on its travel and tourism business under the trade name SITA/Sita Expedition Pvt Ltd or domain name sitaexpedition.com until the next date of hearing".

Mumbai-based Kuoni had argued that the trademark/trade name SITA was previously owned by Sita World Travel (India) Ltd, which amalgamated with it in April 2000, and thus the latters rights, interests and liabilities including goodwill and other intellectual property rights vested with it exclusively.

It also submitted that its predecessor had adopted the acronym SITA from its initial name Students International Travel Association. Since the acronym was unique and inherently distinctive Kuonis predecessor had decided to use the name SITA as distinguishing trademark in respect of its business activities, counsel Ajay Sahani and Ramesh C Kainthola had said.

Alleging violation of its legal rights, Kuoni has sought damages of R20 lakh from the local firm on account of knowingly and deliberately carrying on illegal trade activities.

According to them, the Ghaziabad firm had started using the trade name Sita Expedition and deceptively similar logo and domain name www.sitaexpedition.com and had obtained registration of the website in 2011.

This was done with an oblique motive to capitalise on the goodwill and reputation of Kuoni, otherwise there was not any bonafide reasons for the adoption of the trade name and logo of the Ghaziabad firm, Sahani argued.