The Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) on Friday ordered the removal of trademark registration made in favour of the Kolkata based-Halidram Bhujiawala. Now Haldiram (India) Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi, alone can use the trademark ‘Halidram Bhujiawala’. The ruling ended a long-drawn dispute between family members of Ganga Bishan, who first adopted the trademark.
Ruling in favour of the New Delhi-based firm, the Board comprising its Vice Chairman S. Usha and its member V. Ravi held that the proprietors of the Kolkata firm had not produced any cogent evidence and “therefore, the registration is in violation of the provisions of the Trade Marks Act.”
The trademark ‘Haldiram Bhujiawala’ was adopted in 1941 by Bishan, in respect of his business for the manufacture and sale of sweets, papads and snacks. Bishan expanded his business to other cities, including Kolkata. In 1972, an application for the trademark’s registration was filed for the whole of India.
Under a family arrangement, Moolchand, one of Bishan’s sons, was carrying on business in all the territories, except West Bengal, while the family of another son, Rameshwar Lal, was allowed to do their business only in West Bengal. Mr. Lal and his son Prabhu Shankar obtained the registration in 1980 for the same goods for using the trademark in Kolkata.
After Lal’s death, his sons threatened to open a retail outlet under the similar name in Karol Bagh, New Delhi in 1991. Aggrieved by the trademark remaining on the Registry of Trade Marks, Kolkata, the sons of Moolchand, the owners of Haldiram (India) Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, filed the application to cancel the registration made in 1980.
Halidram, New Delhi, said the registration was wrongly made and was remaining wrongly on the register.
The Board stated: “It is clear that Mr. Lal had not produced any evidence to prove that the trademark had acquired distinctiveness. The trademark is neither distinctive, nor capable of being distinguished as on the date of registration.”
Directing the Registrar of Trade Marks to cancel the trademark granted in favour of Lal’s sons, who own Haldiram Bhujiawala, Kolkata, the IPAB said that though they were aware of the applicant predecessors’ use, they had suppressed the fact and stated that they were the only firm using the trademark Haldiram Bhujiawala in Kolkata and that no other application was pending.