Tea Board loses claim over Dar­jeel­ing tag

Business Standard - - BUSINESS LAW -

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.

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