Tea Board loses claim over Darjeeling tag
The Tea Board of India last week lost a nine-year-old dispute over the use of the word ‘Darjeeling’ by ITC Ltd, which has a ‘Darjeeling Lounge’ in Kolkata’s Sonar Bangla hotel. The board claimed that the use of the place name violated the Trade Marks Act and the Geographical Indications of Goods Act and confused the public. It has guaranteed that Darjeeling tea is 100 per cent originated from Darjeeling district of West Bengal. The Calcutta High Court rejected the board’s prayer for a permanent bar against the hotel using the word. The judgment listed 20 questions to be considered, and in a detailed judgment, decided all against the board on the ground that it has not produced adequate evidence to prove its allegations. Further, the court imposed a cost of ~1 lakh on the board for raising a “frivolous” issue. ITC then requested the court to donate the amount to the high court legal aid committee.