Temporary Injunction denied to India Today over the use of its ‘Today’ trademark

According to reports obtained from SpicyIP, Interim injunction by the India Today Group against the TV channel ‘Nation Today’ over the use of its trademark ‘Today’ was rejected prima facie by the Delhi High Court.

As per ruling by the court, India Today Group cannot claim an injunction against the use of the name ‘Nation Today’ despite it running the news channel ‘Headlines Today’ under a license agreement. The thing that injured the defense of ‘India Today’ was a case that they themselves fought against ‘Punjab Today’, where India Today group argued that the mere use of the word ‘Today’ does not make the competing mark similar to its mark. While replying to the Examination Report issued by the Trademark Registry at that time, it had stated that the contradictory mark ‘Punjab Today’ is visually, structurally and phonetically not similar to their mark ‘India Today’. This earlier submission by the plaintiffs prohibited themselves from making such a claim against the mark ‘Nation Today’.

In the present case, the ‘Nation Today’ counsel alleged India Today Group of hiding facts as there are many third parties, apart from the defendants, who have adopted and are using the trademark.

It was also noted by the court that an individual cannot be allowed to monopolise use of the above word, even if the person has more than 50 marks registered under a single class, all of which contain a word as descriptive to a business as “Today” for news business. In any case, under class 38, there is no registration for the mark ‘TODAY’. Further, the ‘Today’ constructive marks referred by the plaintiffs are combination marks and do not allow for any exclusive rights to the use of the word ‘Today’. It was also reiterated by the court that the word ‘Today’ is descriptive in nature for news publications and news related products and so for that reason cannot be claimed to be a property of one entity alone.

The court also observer that the word ‘Today’, is a common English word and is free to be adopted and used by third persons in relation to their goods. It is reiterated that the word ‘Today’ is often used for daily publication/news channel and it is descriptive and common to trade in respect of such goods/services, and the word ‘Today’ is also extensively used in India as well as around the world in respect of daily publications/ news channels.

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