Wednesday, October 31, 2018

No copyright on Patel community: Court

Rejects Patel Jeweller Vs Patel Jeweller Lawsuit

Patel is a community name and one cannot have a trademark right over this word. Similarly, jeweller is a person dealing in jewellery and one cannot stake copyright on this trade too.
A commercial court here observed this concluding that nobody can have a sole trademark right over ‘Patel Jewellers’ and cannot deter anybody from using this title for business.
The court recently turned down an application filed by a Mehsana-based jeweller Jitendra Patel demanding to restrain a famous Mumbai-based ‘Patel Jewellers’ from using the name for the business.

Jitendra Patel of Patel Jewellers sued Mumbai’s shopowners, in all 13 different shops, in March after they came to know the latter’s intent to open a showroom in Mehsana town in north Gujarat. He claimed that his family has been using trademark/tradename ‘Patel Jewellers’ since 1990 and got it registered also. He objected to Mumbai’s firm using the same title for business on the ground that his family was the first mover in the market and had earned considerable goodwill.

On the other hand, Mumbai’s firm also claimed to be the first mover in the market with the same title since 1993 in Maharashtra and Gujarat. The firm's lawyer claimed that they first issued a legal notice to Mehsana’s firm after they came to know about the illegal use of the tradename. In return, the Mehsana’s firm issued cross-notice and approached a civil court in Ahmedabad.
Both the firms showed their accounts since the inception of their firms to establish that their turnover has been in crores due to their goodwill. After a brief battle on factual aspects, the Mumbai firm’s advocate argued that the word ‘Patel Jewellers’ was not coined by the Mehsana’s jeweller, but Patel is a community and jeweller is a word used for a person engaged in the trade of jewellery. Hence, the Mehsana’s firm cannot claim exclusiveness over the word.
Judge M C Tyagi accepted this argument and said, “Patel is a well-known community in Gujarat. It is also not in dispute that the word jeweller means a person who carries on trade or business of jewellery. Therefore, the combination of both the words and as well as any single word is common and generic. None of the parties can claim exclusivity over the word Patel Jewellers.”

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