Relaxo in Action: Indian shoemaker granted injunction in a design infringement case
Design infringement in the fashion and footwear industry is becoming a major issue for brands. They have to keep up with the latest styles of their competitors as well as other infringers to ensure protection of their unique designs. Registered designs are often granted protection against infringement in such cases. Recently in the case of Relaxo Footwears Ltd. v. Nikhil Footwears & Anr.,1 the Delhi High court granted an ex-parte ad interim injunction restraining the Defendant from infringing the registered designs of the Plaintiff with regards to their footwear products.
The Plaintiff sought an injunction restraining the Defendant from manufacturing, selling, offering for sale, advertising, importing, exporting or in any other manner dealing in any of the products listed by the Plaintiff in the suit and/or any products bearing designs “which are an obvious or fraudulent imitation of Plaintiff’s corresponding registered designs, amounting to infringement/piracy of registered designs.”
The Plaintiff claimed that they own proprietary interest and intellectual property rights in their trade mark, trade dress, design and get up of certain footwear products which are original, distinct and novel products owned exclusively by them. Moreover, the Plaintiff also claimed that by virtue of prior and continuous commercial use and sales and promotions, they have acquired exclusive goodwill and reputation in the industry.
The Plaintiff also claimed that the Defendant had unlawfully imitated and pirated the registered designs of the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff alleged that they learned about the Defendant selling an identical imitation of their product bearing the “ACTION” brand name and trade mark. The Plaintiff also provided evidence to show that the email ID “actionshoes.com” was being used in association with the sale of these impugned products. Moreover, the Plaintiff also alleged that the Defendant M/s Nikhil Footwear was using a shield of multiple firms/companies to escape liability for legal actions against their illegal activities.
The Court held that the Plaintiff had made a prima facie case in their favour and granted an interim injunction against the Defendant accordingly and stated that they shall be restrained from dealing with any products bearing the designs that are obvious or a fraudulent imitation of the Plaintiff’s registered designs which may amount to infringement and/or passing off of the designs of the Plaintiff.
1. Relaxo Footwears Ltd. v. Nikhil Footwears CS(COMM)425/2021 https://indiankanoon.org/doc/113267342/