Trademark Infringement: “YOGI” Versus “THE YOGI”, Who’s The Yogi Now?
In the case of Yogi Ayurvedic Products Pvt. Ltd v. The Yogi & Ors., the Bombay High Court passed an ex-parte ad-interim injunction in favour of the Plaintiff, inter alia, restraining the Defendants from using the mark “THE YOGI” and from using the website www.theyogi.store or any other trademark/name deceptively similar with the Plaintiff’s well-known mark “YOGI”.
The Plaintiff claimed that they came across the Defendant’s trademark applications for the mark “THE YOGI'' in relation to similar ayurvedic products and herbal preparations on a ‘proposed-to-be-used’ basis. Upon investigation, they discovered the Defendant’s online presence through their website www.theyogi.store.
While it should be noted that “YOGI” is not an invented word per se, its use in conjunction with the products of the Plaintiff is what makes it distinctive. It was observed by the Court that “There is, prima facie, considerable force in this argument. The Plaintiff may never be able to get a restraint against the world at large from using the word YOGI in relation to, let us say laptops, computers, or automobiles, but within the class and the market segment that the Plaintiff occupies, there is no reason why the registration, when granted, should not be entitled to statutory protection.”
It was found that the two marks were structurally, visually and conceptually similar and the test of the consumer’s imperfect recollection and average intelligence was applied. The range of products between both the parties were also observed to be exactly the same and the Court held that, “The range itself tells us that if any similar product is introduced by a competitor, the average consumer is bound to (i) mistake one for the other; and (ii) be led to believe that the new product actually emanates from the Plaintiff.” The Court held that the similarity between the domain names of the parties, was another reason to grant the Plaintiff relief. The Court further observed that this was a case fit for ex-parte interim relief given the fact that the Defendants were avoiding service, despite continuing with the sale of their products online.
To conclude, the Court stated that the balance of convenience was in favour of the Plaintiff and they were likely to suffer irreparable damage if the Defendant was to continue with the sale of the impugned products under the impugned mark.