Cizer v. Lizer

22 October 2013
  • By Dr. Mohan Dewan & Adv. Ajita Patki

A trade mark may be refused registration for a number of reasons including the fact that the trade mark is devoid of distinctive character or if it is of such nature as to deceive members of the public. On these grounds the owner of the trademark ‘Cizer’ recently succeeded in having the trademark ‘Lizer’ removed from the Register of Trademarks. The IPAB considered the documents filed and the arguments put forth by both parties and found in favour of the Applicant, Cizer Time Industries (CTI), represented by R K Dewan & Co, and the mark Lizer was ordered to be removed from the Register of Trademarks in Class 14 in respect of watches, horological and chronological instruments.

CTI pleaded that the mark Cizer was used by its predecessor from 1981 to 1995 and thereafter by CTI in respect of watches, with substantial sales. On the other hand, the Respondent claimed use of the trademark Lizer since 2005. The Applicant claimed that being in the same industry, the Respondent was bound to have heard of the Applicant’s mark and thus had no reason or right to adopt a deceptively similar mark and thus such adoption was malafide. The Applicant claimed that the trademark Lizer was incapable of distinguishing the goods of the Respondent from those of the Applicant and was likely to cause confusion in the minds of the public.

The Respondent inter alia claimed that it had adopted the trade mark Lizer and the prefix Li was coined from the Chinese language for measurement. The IPAB however found this explanation to be contrived as an afterthought and there was no explanation for the suffix ‘ZER’. The IPAB also found that the trademarks Cizer and Lizer were written in a similar font and the two marks were deceptively similar. Thus, the IPAB ordered that the trademark Lizer be removed from the Register of Trade Marks in class 14.


1. Adopt a mark which is new and which has not been used by your competitors;

2. Merely changing the spelling of another’s mark will not give you rights over such a mark. Invent your own mark and make sure it does not look or sound like someone else’s;

3. Make your own identity rather than trying to ride upon the reputation of another;

4. Always have a plausible explanation for adoption of a trademark.


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