June 30, 2022 5:00:16 pm
Despite an interim injunction order granted by an Ahmedabad court that restrained Ahmedabad-based eatery ‘Sazzy Sizzler’ from “misusing, acquiring, providing and/or offering for sale” the sizzlers by using similar trade dress, data and trade secrets as that of another Ahmedabad-based eatery Yanki Sizzlers, it was brought to the Gujarat High Court’s attention Thursday by that ‘Sazzy Sizzler’ continues to violate the order.
In January, a commercial Ahmedabad rural court had granted the temporary injunction order against Sazzy Sizzlers in a trademark suit filed by Yanki Sizzlers. It further directed that the injunction “will remain in operation till the final disposal of the suit.”
On Thursday, Yanki told a division bench of Gujarat HC that an advertisement placed by Sazzys contained “similar pictures of sizzlers” as used in Yanki advertisements. Yanki Sizzlers further submitted that when it comes to sizzlers, they have been the “pioneers in Gujarat market from 2012 to 2020 with this product,” and that “there is none except us in this food distribution”.
The bench, however, remarked on this submission, “Won’t sizzlers look the same because sizzlers for years have looked the same.” Yanki responded that Sazzy Sizzlers continue to use similar trade dress, restaurant set-up, etc as well as that of Yanki’s.
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Yanki Sizzlers, established in 2012, had submitted before the Ahmedabad court that an agreement for leave and licence was executed between Yankis and the premise owners for four years (from July 2017 to June 2021) with a condition that the licence could be terminated only by serving 30 days’ prior notice by the respective party. But Yanki’s director upon a visit to the premises in June 2020 when lockdown was eased in phased manner by the Central Government in the aftermath of Covid-19, “was shocked to find” the signboard of Sazzy Sizzlers installed on the premises, Moreover, the director of Yanki’s was not allowed to even enter the premises.
According to Yanki, it came to the knowledge of the plaintiff (Yanki) that the defendants (Sazzy Sizzlers, owner of the premises) in conspiracy with each other have taken advantage of the lockdown by removing all the documents, furniture, kitchen utensils, secret recipe details, cheque books, letterhead, computer data etc. from the premises and instead started the same business of sizzlers at the same spot.”
The Ahmedabad court had observed that the items prepared by Sazzys through the staff and manager earlier employed with Yanki are similar to the items and edibles prepared by the Yankis.
Sazzy Sizzlers moved Gujarat HC in February, challenging the temporary injunction order by the Ahmedabad court. Earlier this month, it was pointed out by Yanki that Sazzy continues to violate the injunction order.
Following Yanki’s submissions and the advocate for Sazzy not being present before the court, the bench observed, “Let them (Sazzy) come (before the court). If they (Sazzy) continue with this, we may have to take some stricter actions…They cannot, after the court’s specific directions, continue to do something that is impermissible.”
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