Hermes logo gets “well-known trademark” status in India
06 March 2023
One of the famous “H” logos by French luxury brand Hermes International has been declared a “well-known trademark” by the Delhi High Court.
In December 2022, the court ruled over a trademark infringement case in favor of Hermes against defendant Crimzon Fashion Accessories, a luxury footwear brand based in Mumbai. Crimzon was found to be using deceptively similar “H” logos in its website.
Hermes applied for a permanent injunction against the Indian brand, which was granted in December, as well as for the “well-known” status for its logo. The brand cited their products bearing the “H” mark are being sold in Hermes outlets in Mumbai and Delhi. The company also cited the stores’ catalogues, articles and magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar as evidence of the “H” logo’s reputation and recognition in India. The court granted the “well-known trademark” status on February 8, 2023.
Protection of a well-known trademark extends to dissimilar goods or services, without having to meet conditions that an ordinary mark or logo must meet to be entitled to such broad scope of protection.
A well-known trademark is also a relative ground for the refusal of an application for a certain mark’s registration. “Theoretically, the Registrar can refuse registration of a trademark which is identical or similar to a well-known trademark, instead of citing this as a conflicting mark in an examination report which can be sought to be overcome by the applicant,” said Rahul Bajaj, an attorney at Ira Law in New Delhi.
Hermes’s “H” logo joins the growing list of marks that have been declared as well-known trademarks in India. Among these are LV, Cartier, Intel and Google. How will this development impact the trademark scene in India?
“First, the Delhi High Court’s judgment offers an excellent template for how a trademark can receive the status of a well-known trademark. To that extent, this judgment is likely to be used by other luxury brands and brands in other sectors to seek ‘well-known’ status for their marks,” said Bajaj.
He added that another notable feature of the judgement is the discussion of the target audience. According to the Indian Trademarks Act, 1999, determination of whether a mark has become well-known or not has to be made from the perspective of the ‘relevant section of the public.’
“The Court noted the plaintiff’s argument that this determination has to be made from the standpoint of the public in the relevant industry, which in this case means the fashion industry. While the Court did not rule on this specific issue, since it did not reject the plaintiff’s argument, the judgment can arguably be interpreted as endorsing this argument,” Bajaj explained.
- Espie Angelica A. de Leon