Delhi HC Halts Release Of Tamil Film 'Ajinomoto' After Japan's Seasoning Manufacturer Alleges Trademark Infringement
The Delhi High Court has halted the release of the film titled "AJINOMOTO" after a manufacturer of Monosodium Glutamate seasoning in Japan filed a lawsuit alleging trademark infringement.
The bench of Justice Sanjeev Narula observed that if an ex-parte injunction is not granted, Plaintiff-Ajinomoto Co Inc. shall suffer irreparable loss.
Accordingly, the Court directed thus "…till the next date of hearing, Defendants shall not release the film under the title "AJINOMOTO" or any film bearing an identical or deceptively similar title/ name in any format i.e., cinema hall release, DVD/ VCD release, release through OTT platforms, etc."
As per the plaintiff, it is the largest seasoning manufacturer in Japan. It had adopted and registered the trademark "AJI-NO-MOTO", primarily used for Monosodium Glutamate.
The plaintiff had claimed that "AJI-NO-MOTO" was coined by Plaintiff's predecessor-in-title as a unique combination of words meaning "Essence of Taste" in Japanese.
Plaintiff's grievance arises from the title of an upcoming movie that uses Plaintiff's trademark "AJI-NO-MOTO".
It was contended that the use of said title not only infringes its trademark rights, as the use is without authorisation, but is also disparaging and defaming.
The Counsel for the petitioner submitted that although the film has not been released and contents thereof are not known to the public, however, the storyline is conceived and fashioned metaphorically around the cooking ingredient which directly links to the Plaintiff.
Senior Advocate Sudhir Chandra appeared for the plaintiff.
The Court observed that "In view of the fore-going, Plaintiff has made out a prima facie case in their favour; balance of convenience also lies in favour of the Plaintiff and against the Defendants; in case an ex-parte injunction is not granted, Plaintiff shall suffer irreparable loss."
Thus, the Court has halted the release of the said film till the date of next hearing.
The Court has listed the matter to December 12, 2022.
Cause Title- Ajinomoto Co Inc v. Dattatrey Studios & Anr