Republic TV can’t use ‘Newshour’ but free to use tagline ‘Nation wants to know’ as part of speech: Delhi High Court

Arnab Goswami   | Photo Credit: SUJIT JAISWAL

 The Delhi High Court on Friday said Republic TV’s editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami was free to use the tagline “nation wants to know” as part of his speech or presentation of any news channel.

Justice Jayant Nath, however, ordered Mr. Goswami and ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd, which owns Republic TV, to maintain accounts if they choose to use the tagline as a trade mark with respect to any of their goods or services.

The High Court also restrained Republic TV and Mr. Goswami from using the trade mark ‘NEWS HOUR’ or any other mark which is deceptively similar to it, on a suit filed by media outlet Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd, which owns the channel Times Now.

Bennett Coleman had argued that it has been using the tagline “nation wants to know” since 2006 for goods and services in relation to television broadcast. It has acquired goodwill and reputation due to the time effort, financial and human resources expanded by the company, it said.

The High Court, however, said it was only after evidence has been led that it can be ascertained as to whether Bennett Coleman was using the tagline as a trade mark or it was merely being used as a form of speech in the course of conducting the news channel.

“In these facts and circumstances, prima facie it is not possible, at this stage without leading of evidence, to come to a conclusion that the defendants (ARG Outlier Media and Mr. Goswami) seek to mislead the consumers of the news channel or that the action of the defendants in using the said tagline would cause damage to the plaintiff as claimed,” the High Court noted.

“A plea strongly urged by the defendants is that the tagline in question was used as a common speech for which there is no intellectual property which enures to the plaintiff,” it noted.

Mr Goswami, who was earlier associated with Times Now and resigned in 2016, launched his channel ‘Republic TV’ and website and later filed trade mark applications for registration of the mark ‘Nation Wants to Know’, ‘Arnab Goswami Newshour’ and ‘Goswami Newshour Sunday’ claiming proprietary rights.

On coming to know that Mr Goswami and Republic TV propose to adopt and use the trade mark or tagline, Bennett Coleman initiated its legal proceedings.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 2:40:44 AM |

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