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No ‘MARQ’ to Flipkart

The e-commerce transactions have increased phenomenally in India in the last few years, this movement has been spearheaded by Flipkart and Amazon in India. Recently, Flipkart in a bid to increase its influence in electronic goods market launched a new brand ‘MARQ’ however, this trade mark faced legal issues because of its similarity to a prior registered trade mark ‘Marc’ also being used ofr electronic appliances. This case, M/s Marc Enterprises Pvt. Ltd. v. Flipkart India Pvt. Ltd. was filed before the District Court, Patiala House in New Delhi.

Marc Enterprises claimed that it was using the trade mark ‘Marc’ since 1981 and in respect of electronic goods the mark was being used since 1984. It was submitted that Flipkart had filed for registration of the trade mark ‘MARQ’ on a proposed to be used basis and has admitted to using the mark only from 2017 therefore, it should be injuncted from using the trade mark ‘MARQ’. Flipkart submitted that though Marc Enterprises was aware of Flipkart’s use of the trade mark ‘MARQ’ since 2017, yet no steps had been taken by it at that time to prevent Flipkart’s use of the same.

The Judge heard the parties and ruled that here was phonetic similarity between the marks ‘MARC’ and ‘MARQ’ and since the trade mark ‘MARC’ was being used since 1981 the proprietor thereof had a better title. Therefore, Marc Enterprises was successful in establishing a prima-facie case and an order of injunction was passed against Flipkart. This is a reminder that prior to adopting a trade mark every company must ensure that a prior search is done in the database of the Trade Mark Registry to avoid any possibility of legal conflict in future.