Monday, December 18, 2017

Kamat Hotels (India) Ltd wins ‘Orchid’ trademark infringement case against Royal Orchid Hotels Ltd

Supreme Court dismisses Special Leave Petition filed by Royal Orchid Hotels Ltd

The Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed by Royal Orchid Hotels Limited (“ROHL”) and upheld the February 11, 2015 order of the Madras High Court restraining ROHL from using the word ‘Orchid’ or mark or logo that amounts to infringement on the trademark of ‘The Orchid’ belonging to Kamat Hotels (India) Limited (“KHIL”). KHIL is the owner and registered proprietor of the trademark/ logo ‘The Orchid’ and promotes two five star ecotel hotels under the brand ‘The Orchid’ in Mumbai and Pune.

The SC bench chaired by Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice R. Banumathi decided to dismiss the petition of ROHL. Disposing of the case the SC said in its order “Having considered the matter we are of the view that the conclusions reached by the Madras High Court cannot be said to be, in anyway, unreasonable and/or unacceptable. Rather, we are inclined to hold that the view recorded by the Madras High Court is a perfectly possible and justified view of the matter and the conclusion(s) reached can reasonably flow from a balanced consideration of the evidence and materials on record. We will, therefore, not consider the present to be a fit case for interference with the order of the Madras High Court. Accordingly, we dismiss the Special Leave Petition and refuse leave to appeal”

The SC recognized the fact that KHIL is prior user and also that the mark used by ROHL was similar and passing off as the original. It also held true that consumers could get confused and did not agree with ROHL submission that the marks are different in colour and design.

Kamat Hotels (India) Limited welcomed the decision as justice being done to the efforts of Dr Vithal Kamat who started Asia’s First 5 Star Ecotel – The Orchid way back in 1997 in Mumbai and is recognized as a pioneer in the industry.