The Karnataka High Court in a trademark related dispute between Coolulu Sports Private Limited and Lulu International Shopping Malls Private Limited with regard to the usage of the name has directed the authority to pass an order afresh in the same.

A Single Bench of Justice M. Nagaprasanna held, “There is no consideration worth the name by the 2nd respondent. The purport of Section 16 is not even considered or the purport of Trademarks Act becoming applicable to Section 16 is again ignored. The order does not demonstrate even a semblance of application of mind for there are no reasons recorded by way of consideration of the contentions of both the petitioner and the 3rd respondent. … the 2nd respondent is required to pass order afresh by recording reasons for the contentions so advanced both by the petitioner and the 3rd respondent, which would bear the stamp of application of mind.”

The Bench observed that an order which determines the rights of parties should bear the application of mind and that an order which does not contain any reason is an unreasonable order.

Advocate Manu P. Kulkarni appeared on behalf of the petitioner while CGC Anupama Hegde, Senior Advocate Aditya Sondhi, and Advocate Rashmi Deshpande appeared on behalf of the respondents.

In this case, the petitioner i.e., Coolulu Sports Private Limited was before the Court calling in question the order passed by the Regional Director, Corporate Affairs allowing the application filed by Lulu International Shopping Malls Private Limited and restraining the petitioner from using the word “lulu” from the title of its name within three months from the date of the order.

The petitioner company was engaged in sports coaching, sporting events, adult fitness events, etc., and claimed to be established with the aim of fostering athletic inclinations in both children and adults alike, to give sports enthusiasts an opportunity to compete and get recognized. While the respondent company was engaged in the establishment and operation of several commercial establishments such as malls and supermarkets.

The High Court after hearing the contentions of both parties asserted, “All that the 2nd respondent observes is that upon examining the oral and written submissions of both the parties, the 2nd respondent opines that the applicant Company was registered way back in 2004 and is a well known trademark and there is a chance of creating confusion and misconception in the names. Since it is said to be a well known trademark with wide range of products and brand name across the globe, the name “Lulu” from the petitioner Company has to be removed.”

The Court said that Regional Director endowed with the statutory duty of such determination under Section 16 of the Trademarks Act cannot pass an order which would depict an inscrutable face of the sphinx.

“Though the learned counsel for the petitioner and the learned senior counsel representing the 3rd respondent have advanced several submissions, all those would have merited consideration if the impugned order did bear some reasons. … Therefore, the contention of both the learned counsel for the petitioner and the learned senior counsel for the 3rd respondent shall remain open”, held the Court.

The Court, therefore, remitted back the matter to the Regional Director to pass orders afresh bearing in mind the observations made during the order, and directed that the order shall be passed within an outer limit of three months.

Accordingly, the Court allowed the plea.

Cause Title- Coolulu Sports Private Limited v. Union of India & Ors.

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