3 March 2022

Airtec Electrovision Pvt. Ltd (“Airtec”) is engaged in the business of manufacturing, promotion and distribution of E-LED television sets across India under the name and style of “EAIRTEC”. In June 2021, it came to the knowledge of Airtec that Nipon Electronics (“Nipon”) was using the mark “AIRNET” in respect of television sets. Airtec filed a commercial suit for recovery claiming damages worth Rs.5 lacs and a permanent injunction against Nipon in the District Court of Delhi.
Source – Judgement
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Airtec contended that “AIRNET” is phonetically similar to its registered mark “EAIRTEC” and that Nipon had infringed upon their mark with the intention to take advantage of its goodwill and repute.
The matter came up for trial during which Nipon argued that there is no phonetic similarity between the marks as ‘Air’ is a description of the services in relation to the mark i.e. telecasting is done through ‘Air’.
Further ‘net’ was adopted as a short form for ‘networking’. It had coined their mark ‘airnet’ by connecting the two words ‘air’ and ‘net’. Nipon further submitted that, Airtec had falsely averred in the plaint that it came to know about Nipon’s use of the mark in the month of June, 2021 whereas AIRTEC had filed an opposition to the Airnet mark on 11.7.2018 before the Trademark Registry.
The District Court dismissed Airtec’s application and observed that the words ‘AIRNET’ and ‘EAIRTEC’ cannot be confused for each other. Further, the Court opined that the consumers of E-LED televisions are literate who can distinguish between the marks ‘AIRNET’ and ‘EAIRTEC’ and that these words have not acquired secondary meaning with respect to the products of Airtec.
Airtec then appealed to the Hon’ble Delhi High Court against the order of the District Court. The Delhi High Court observed that, “Just because the initial alphabets in the appellant/plaintiff’s marks are “EAIR”, which would sound same as “Air”, which are the first three letters in the mark of the respondent/ defendant, it does not make the two marks phonetically similar. Both the marks have to be read and spoken as a whole, and when done so, “EAIRTEC” and “AIRNET” not only are written and spelt differently, but also sound different. It is unlikely that there would be confusion in the mind of the common man, in mistaking “EAIRTEC” for “AIRNET”, and vice-versa. There is no way that anybody can get confused between the two marks upon seeing the manner in which they have been used. ….. Even, the taglines are different inasmuch, as, under “EAIRTEC”, words “the electronic hub” are printed, whereas, under the word mark “AIRNET”, words “Choice of India” are printed.
Saying this, the Delhi High Court dismissed Airtec’s appeal for the lack of merit.


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