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December 14, 2017

Essential Feature of Composite Marks Is Also Exclusive and Protected

Max Healthcare (registered proprietor of composite marks

, ,  and

filed a trademark infringement suit seeking to injunct the defendant from use of MAXCURE HOSPITAL and MAXKURE. Max Healthcare’s admitted position (in its plaint) was that the mark MAX was not owned by it, and was instead owned and registered by its affiliate. Notably, this affiliate-owner of the mark MAX was not made a party to the suit.

The defendant consequently applied for the plaint to be rejected on the grounds of –

1. Non-joinder of a necessary party – the registered proprietor of MAX; and

2. The lack of any pleading in the plaint that ‘MAX’ was an essential feature of Max Healthcare’s registered marks.

The Delhi High Court (vide its order of November 29, 2017) dismissed the Defendant’s application (for rejection of plaint). The Court admitted the plaint for infringement of the composite marks (of which Max Healthcare is the registered proprietor), while observing that the plaint was liable to be rejected for infringement of the word mark MAX (for non-joinder of necessary party).

The Court also held that it was evident that MAX is the essential feature of the composite marks.

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