Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Delhi HC halts pizza outlet from using ‘Dominick Pizza’ due to trademark infringement by Domino’s

The Delhi High Court has issued a permanent injunction, barring a Ghaziabad-based pizza outlet from utilising the trademark ‘Dominick Pizza’, deeming it an infringement on the trademark of multinational pizza giant, Domino’s Pizza.

Justice C. Hari Shankar, presiding over the case, stressed on the phonetic similarity between ‘Domino’s Pizza’ and ‘Dominick’s Pizza,’ characterising them as deceptively similar.

The case stemmed from a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by Domino’s against Dominick Pizza for employing an identical name and employing registered trademarks like ‘Cheese Burst’ and ‘Pasta Italiano.’

The judge pointed out that confusion was highly likely to arise when a customer of average intelligence with an imperfect memory visits a Domino’s outlet and subsequently frequents a Dominick’s Pizza outlet.

The court further stressed the responsibility of courts to prevent such imitative attempts in trademarks, particularly in the context of consumable items or eateries.

“When the marks in question pertain to food items or eateries where food items are dispensed and served, a somewhat higher degree of care and caution is expected to be observed,” the court said.

In August 2022, the court had issued an interim order against Dominick Pizza. In the final order, Justice Shankar expressed disapproval of operating an eatery with a mark deceptively similar to a well-known mark.

“The intent to capitalise on the reputation of a known and established brand, by using a mark which is deceptively similar to the mark used by the brand, can, in a given case, give rise to a legitimate apprehension of quality compromise by the imitator,” the court said.

Moreover, the court clarified that the determination of whether an infringing mark may cause confusion is primarily a matter of subjective discretion for the court and not a matter to be decided based on customer evidence.

The court found that Dominick Pizza had unmistakably infringed Domino’s Pizza’s trademark. Hence, it restrained Dominick Pizza from using the name ‘Dominick Pizza’ as well as the marks ‘Cheese Burst’ and ‘Pasta Italiano.’

Dominick Pizza was also directed to withdraw its application from the Trade Marks Registry for the registration of the contested mark and transfer its internet domain names to Domino’s.

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