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HC grants perfume relief to Playboy

New Delhi, Feb. 23 (PTI): The publishers of the widely-circulated international adult magazine, Playboy, were granted relief against infringement of its brand name after the firm moved Delhi High Court against an Indian perfume maker using its brand name.

The American firm with diversified business had sued Delhi-based Advance Cosmetics and Research Centre and its distributors for making and selling the perfumes under the international brand name, Playboy, and its logo of a “rabbit head”.

Upholding the reputation of the magazine, Justice J.D. Kapoor said the adoption of Playboy Enterprises’ trademark, Playboy, and logo, rabbit head, by the local firm was “prima facie total” and “complete plagiarism”.

Playboy’s counsel Pravin Anand had submitted that besides printing and publishing the magazine, the US firm was involved in manufacturing and marketing a variety of life style products, including cosmetics, with the same registered trade mark and logo that were the original creation of the publishing house.

The US firm had alleged that the Indian company had adopted the identical trademark and logo to cash in on its reputation to pass off its products as Playboy’s.

In his ex parte order, the judge said: “I have compared both the articles of the plaintiff (Playboy) as well as of defendants (Advance Cosmetics) and found the defendant has blatantly used the trademark and logo, which is an infringement.”

Although Playboy Enterprises International Inc. is known for its magazine in India and not for cosmetics, stationary goods, watches, costume jewellery, confectionery and household items, the court said: “The fact remains that it is the registered proprietor of the mark, Playboy, and logo, rabbit head, in India with respect to cosmetics and fragrances.”

The court said the sole object of the Delhi company in adopting an identical trademark and logo appears “to thrive and cash upon unjustly on the reputation and goodwill of (the) foreign company”.

The quality of Playboy’s products and extensive advertising in the international media have acquired and established unsurpassable reputation and goodwill, the court said.

In this case, it was “prima facie total and complete plagiarism” and “the question of deciding whether there were deceptive similarities or confusing similarities did not arise”.

Seeking relief for the foreign company, Anand said the trademark and the logo had earned judicial recognition in countries across the globe, including India, in the past.

The court granted an injunction and appointed commissioners to raid the premises of the local firm and take into custody all infringing products.

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