Tata arm wins Jaguar trademark battle against Swiss watchmaker

Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB), Chennai, has ruled in favour of Jaguar Cars of England, owned by Tata Motors, in a petition against Switzerland-based watchmaker Manufacture Des Montres Jaguar, who had been granted a nod by the deputy registrar of trademarks, Kolkata, to use the trademark Jaguar for its watches in India.

IPAB, after hearing both the parties, quashed the order of the deputy registrar of trademarks, Kolkata. S Usha, vice-chairman and V Ravi, technical member of IPAB while passing the order said, "We conclude that the registrar's order is full of infirmities and exhibits pronounced bias necessitating the board to step in to right a terrible wrong."

The registrar's decision had allowed the Swiss company to proceed with using the Jaguar name in all watches and watch-parts, excepting clocks.

Jaguar Cars counsel had said that Manufacture Des Montres Jaguar were using the trademark identical to the appellant's trademark, Jaguar. They argued that its registration was contrary to the provision of the legislation governing trademarks law.

The counsel submitted that several trademarks, Jaguar or leaping Jaguar device, are registered or pending registration in numerous classes all over the world, including India.

They said that Jaguar forms a predominant feature of corporate name and style registered in 1945 in India. The appellant is using the trademark Jaguar in relation to cars.

Manufacture Des Montres Jaguar, were using the trademark identical to the appellant's with a malaise intention to trade upon and benefit from the reputation attached to Jaguar, the counsel argued.

However, Manufacture Des Montres Jaguar said it is a Swiss company engaged in the business of manufacturing, distributing and sale of watches and trademark Jaguar and its earliest registration in Switzerland dates back to 1945.

The registrar had earlier stated that Jaguar Cars had not filed any evidence of use of the trademark Jaguar for watches, and there was no evidence of use and advertisement of Jaguar in India. The brochure and promotional materials of the company did not show evidence that they have any manufacturing facilities in India.

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