A civil court in Bengaluru, Karnataka, found that a global market for goods is not a factor for rejecting locally registered trademarks, siding with a small Bengaluru bakery chain in a dispute for the Happy Belly name with Amazon Technologies Inc. and Cloudtail India Private Limited.
The civil court ruled in favour of local businessman Shisham Hinduja, 35, who registered the Happy Belly trademark in 2015 as Happy Belly Bakes. Amazon Technologies and Cloudtail India requested the trademark in 2016 in order to offer upscale goods online.
According to the civil court’s order, Amazon Technologies is prohibited “from infringing or passing off” the entrepreneur’s trademark “Happy Belly Bakes” using the mark, name, or label “Happy Belly” or a name that is similar to it. Amazon Seller Services Private Limited has also been ordered by the court to “delete products misleadingly similar to the plaintiff’s trademark from its online marketplace in India.”
The 18th Additional Civil and Sessions Court in Bengaluru ruled that “simply because the defendants are having a worldwide market or global market for their products is not a ground to reject the registered trademark of plaintiff” in an order that was issued on August 30 of this year.
“The Trademarks Act was created with the goal of protecting the trademark of the preceding user or registered trademark holder. All people are treated equally before the law, according to the Indian Constitution. When the registered brand is in use, others cannot use it misleadingly, the court decided.
According to the lawsuit filed in 2018 by Hinduja, she was questioned in the run-up to Christmas in 2017 about whether her baked goods sold under the name “Happy Belly” were available for purchase online through the Amazon website.com.
She discovered that a website at https://www.amazon.in/Happy-Belly was selling groceries and gourmet foods under the name “Happy Belly,” which was confusingly similar to her registered trademark for Happy Belly Bakes.
The business owner argued she is the registered owner of the trademark Happy Belly Bakes as of July 14, 2015, and the trademark is valid until 2025 during the original lawsuit’s proceedings in the civil court.
The defendants only applied for registration of their trademark “Happy Belly” in India on May 17, 2016, according to the court’s findings.
The plaintiff is therefore without a doubt the registered trademark owner of the trademark “Happy Belly Bakes” and the prior user of the trademark, the civil court noted.
In the courtroom, Amazon Technologies Inc. and Cloudtail India Private Limited argued that they are the registered owners of the “Happy Belly” trademark in Australia, Mexico, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and the European Union. They also stated that registration of the trademark had been requested in a number of other jurisdictions.
The plaintiff in India has been using the trademark Happy Belly Bakes for her products since 2010 and has also obtained the trademark registration in the year 2015, which is much earlier than the use of Happy Belly by the defendant no. 3 worldwide, the civil court continued. “Admittedly, the defendant no. 3 (Amazon Technologies) has obtained the registered trademark Happy Belly in several countries in the year 2016,” it said.