Delhi High Court holds that generic/laudatory words cannot be monopolised
24 Feb 2023

In yet another setback for traders who try to monopolise generic or laudatory words, the Delhi High Court has held that generic or laudatory words cannot be monopolised by any one entity. The suit was filed by Astral Limited (Astral) against Ashirvad Pipes Private Limited (APPL), alleging trademark infringement in the use of CPVC or PRO or combinations thereof by APPL.

 Astral alleged in the suit that APPL’s mark ‘ASHIRVAD BY ALIAXIS CPVC FLOWPRO’ is deceptively similar to Astral’s ‘CPVC PRO’ formative marks. CPVC is an abbreviation for ‘Chlorinated Poly (Vinyl Chloride)’, which is a material for plastic and, is hence generic. PRO is a laudatory word that means, ‘somebody who is better than others at doing something’. 
Astral had filed multiple trademark applications comprising the words CPVC and PRO. Some of these applications were allowed with conditions, some were refused, and some proceeded to registration without any conditions. The Court deprecated the practice of the applicants in filing several applications before the Trade Marks Registry hoping that some of these applications would proceed to registration without any condition. It noted that if identical or similar trademark applications are refused or registered with conditions, then it would raise serious issues of validity of the subsequent registrations if granted.
Considering the generic or laudatory nature of the CPVC PRO formative marks relied on by Astral, the Court refused Astral’s application for an interim injunction.

APPL was represented by K&S Partners in the suit.