The Delhi High Court has dismissed an Indian entity’s attempt to justify the use of the “VBM” mark, alleged to infringe a German medical equipment company’s mark, by referring to the holy Trinity of Hindu gods – Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh.
The German company, VBM Medizintechnik GmbH, has filed a suit for trademark infringement and passing off against an Indian company that used the “VBM” mark.
The Indian company argued that “VBM” stood for “Vishnu Brahma Mahesh .
Justice C. Hari Shankar stated that the explanation that “Vishnu Brahma Mahesh” was the basis for the “VBM” acronym was unsupported by any corroborative documentary evidence and was too facile to pass legal muster.
The court found that there was no documentary evidence supporting this claim and that the Indian company had failed to pass off its usage as a bona fide adoption of the mark.
The court granted an interim injunction against the Indian company, restraining the use of the “VBM” mark during the pendency of the suit.
The German company has been using the “VBM” mark in India since 1992 for medical equipment, and the court found that the intent to copy it was apparent.
The court noted that the two marks were virtually indistinguishable, and the defendant had exposed itself to “divine retribution” for invoking the holy Trinity for “unholy ends” .
It concluded that a prima facie case of passing off was made out.