Sunday, October 2, 2016

India, US companies to fight in Supreme Court over Exide trademark

The protracted legal battle over who can use the Exide brand name to sell automobile batteries in the Indian market has reached the Supreme Court. But for now, US-based Exide Technologies will not be able to use the name in any manner in this country to either promote the brand or the company.

India’s Exide Industries has been selling in the local market under the trademark for decades. The dispute arose after the US company decided to enter the Indian market post liberalisation.

As soon as it started selling car batteries, with the tagline Produced by Exide Technologies Inc, the Indian company moved the Delhi High Court citing infringement of trademark.

After a long court battle, Exide Industries won an order from the Delhi High Court, which in September 2012 restrained Exide Technologies from using the ‘Exide’ trademark in India. But a division bench set the order aside, prompting Exide Industries to move the top court.

The case came up on Friday before a bench comprising Justices Dipak Mishra and C Nagappan. The bench, after hearing preliminary arguments, refused to allow the US company to use the word in the interim.

The bench issued notices to Exide Technologies on the Indian rival’s appeal against the HC division bench order, and stayed that order. That implies that the single judge’s order asking Exide US not to use the word at all will continue till the court takes a call on the issue.

Senior advocate CA Sundaram, assisted by Pratibha Singh, urged the court to at least allow the US company to sell its product Prestolite and permit to use the word Exide on its website. “It is unfair,” the lawyer said. “We can’t even use our own name on our website.” Justice Misra refused to accept the argument.

Exide India’s lawyer Harish N Salve said his client has been using the name for more than 60 years in the local market. Exide Industries is the registered owner of the trademark in India.

But Exide Technologies says it is the parent company and has consistently used the brand name for over a century. It has the trademark registered in more than 130 countries.

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