26 May 2020

International Cases

In the matter of show cause notices issued to Options international (smc-pvt.) Limited



MRTP/ Competition Laws

Interim Order could only be passed upon a condition that final order in proceedings was likely to take time and a situation existed where irreparable damage might occur.

In instant matter, Commission Show Cause Notice issued to Respondent notified that, there existed a prima facie case of contravention of Section 10(2)(d) and 10(2)(b) read with Section 10(1) of Act, 2010. Respondent was engaged in dissemination of false and misleading information/claims whereas, it had no authorization or license to use Complainant's registered and well-known trademark "Starbucks" and word mark "Starbucks Coffee"; thereby, it was deliberately engaged in deceptive marketing practices to Complainant's and consumer's detriment in contravention of Section 10 of the Act.

Complainant had prayed that, Commission might pass an interim order filed under Section 32 of Act, requiring Respondent to refrain from deceptive marking practices in order to prevent further irreparable loss and damage to business and goodwill of Complainant till conclusion of proceedings in subject complaint.

Competition Act was promulgated with scope to provide free competition in all spheres of commercial and economic activity to enhance economic efficiency and to protect consumers from anti-competitive behaviours, which include deceptive marketing practices prohibited under Section 10 of Act. Interim Order under Section 32 of Act could only be passed upon satisfaction of conditions that, final order in proceedings was likely to take time, a situation existed or was likely to emerge, as a consequence of above situation serious or irreparable damage might occur, and interim order was necessary in public interest.

Based on material available on record, Commission was of opinion that, issuance of final order in instant matter might take time; hence, condition under Section 32 of Act was satisfied. Respondent was using registered trademark of Complainant. Thus, a, prima facie contravention of clauses (a), (b) & (d) of sub-section (2) of Section 10 read with sub-section (1) of Section 10 of Act was made out. Commission was right in its steed to restrain undertakings from resorting to unfair competitive practice such like using someone else's registered trademark without any authorization or license, which might not only harm business interest of owner of trade mark but would also deceive consumers in making them believe that, products which they had purchased belonged to or was associated with owner of trademark, which in fact was not the case.

Till issuance of final Order and conclusion of proceedings under Section 30 of Act under Show Cause Notice, Respondent was directed to refrain from marketing, advertising, producing and supplying coffee and other related products' labelling and packaging bearing Starbucks' trademark and logo anywhere which include website and Facebook page, without any authorization from Complainant.

Tags : Dissemination False information Interim relief Grant

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