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Trademark fight: ExxonMobil gets small-time shop to change name

In the suit filed before the court earlier this year, ExxonMobil said that its mark ‘Mobil’ is used for various vehicle, industrial, marine and aviation lubricants and also for other oil and petroleum products.

ExxonMobil Corporation, delhi high court, indian expressExxonMobil Corporation, one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, has forced a shopkeeper dealing in automobile oils to remove ‘Mobil’ from its name following a suit in Delhi High Court. (File Photo)

ExxonMobil Corporation, one of the world’s largest oil and gas company, has forced a shopkeeper, who sells automobile oils, to remove ‘Mobil’ from its name following a suit in Delhi High Court, which has directed that the America-based industry leader be paid Rs 3 lakh as litigation costs by the Tripura shop.

In the suit filed before the court earlier this year, ExxonMobil said that its mark ‘Mobil’ is used for various vehicle, industrial, marine and aviation lubricants and also for other oil and petroleum products. The mark has been protected from misuse previously by various court orders, it told Delhi HC, adding that the use of the word ‘Mobil’ in its name by the Tripura shop constitutes infringement.

The court in February 2022 passed an ex-parte ad interim injunction against the shop restraining it from using the mark ‘Mobil’ as part of the trading name ‘Mahanam Mobil House’. The court also had appointed a Local Commissioner to visit the premises. The Local Commissioner in a report after the visit told the court that the defendant was not dealing with any product bearing the name ‘Mobil’ and during his visit itself removed ‘Mobil’ from the board of his shop.

Justice Prathiba M Singh in a decision dated August 5 said the owner of the shop, apparently was using the name ‘Mobil’ as part of its trading style and after the Local Commissioner’s visit removed it. “The Local Commissioner’s report also shows that the name ‘MOBIL’ was being used as part of the fullname of the Defendant’s concern but there was no use of the mark ‘MOBIL’ per se as a trade name or as a trademark on the products,” said the court.

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The court further said that the defendant appears to have reconciled to the fact that it cannot use the name ‘Mobil’ as part of its
trade name and thus some prayers in the suit have become infructuous. However, the court added that the defendant was using ExxonMobil’s mark as part of its trading style and has conducted sales, commercial activities under the said name.

“The Plaintiff’s mark being registered, the same would constitute infringement and passing off. The Defendant was served a legal notice by the Plaintiff but didn’t cease use of the impugned name. The Plaintiff had to incur legal costs including court fees, local commissioners fee and expenses to protect its legal and statutory rights,” said court.

The court further said that considering the scale of the operation of the Tripura shop was not very big and it has now complied with the injunction order of February 2022, the litigation costs of Rs 3 lakh are awarded to ExxonMobil.

 

First published on: 09-08-2022 at 06:53:26 pm
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