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Apr 18, 2017 09:15 PM IST | Source: PTI

SC agrees to hear Toyota's plea against Delhi HC verdict

"Leave granted," a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha said while fixing the special leave petition filed by Toyota against the December 23, 2016 verdict of the high court and fixed it for hearing on August 22, 2017.

SC agrees to hear Toyota's plea against Delhi HC verdict

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a plea moved by Toyota Motors against a Delhi High Court order allowing an automobile accessories company to use its 'Prius' trademark.

"Leave granted," a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha said while fixing the special leave petition filed by Toyota against the December 23, 2016 verdict of the high court and fixed it for hearing on August 22, 2017.

Toyota, represented by law firm Anand and Anand and senior advocate P Chidambaram, said the High Court judgement needed to be reversed since it contained several erroneous findings, which were in direct contravention to the age-old established principles of trademark law in India.

The division bench of the high court had set aside the order passed by the single-judge bench on July 8, 2016.

The high court had in December last year ruled in favour of Prius Auto, the automobile company, while holding that, "Obviously no consumer of Toyota car or buyer of an auto part sold by Toyota was ever confused by Prius Auto selling their products under the trade mark Prius, for if this was so, in ten years, somebody would have complained to Toyota or at least would have made known the said fact to Toyota.”

The case of Prius Auto was that the word "Prius" is a word of Latin origin meaning "prior" and since they were introducing in India for the first time chrome-plated motor parts, they adopted the trademark from Hindi words "Pehle prayas" (first attempt).

Toyota had relied on several newspaper reports in India which announced Toyota's new hybrid car "Prius” in Japan in 1997.

The high court had, however, held that, "Though published in a newspaper, the publication is in the nature of an article written and thus the weight of its evidentiary worth in the context of an explosive news on a fact of history being made known to the public would be minimal."

The single judge had restrained Indian auto spare parts manufacturer from infringing on the trademarks like Prius and Innova of Japanese car-maker Toyota and directed them to pay Rs 10 lakh as damages to the auto giant for "knowingly and intentionally" using its brands to earn "undue profits".

The court's directions had come on Toyota's plea seeking to restrain a firm from infringing its registered and well known trademarks.

Toyota had argued that the defendants were using its registered and well-known trademarks without authorisation, license or permission.
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