Case: Golden Tabacco Co. Ltd., Bombay Vs R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Winston-Salem. Trademark Tribunal

CounselFor Appellant: Mr. M.R. Nair, Advocate instructed by R.K. Dewan & Co. and For Respondents: Mr. Vivek Grover, Advocate of Remfry & Son
JudgesK. K. Sharma, ARTM
IssueTrade and Merchandise Marks Act, 1958 - Sections 11(a), 11(b), 11(e), 12(1), 18(1), 18(4); Copyright Act, 1957 - Section 13
Judgement DateMarch 24, 1987
CourtTrademark Tribunal


K. K. Sharma, ARTM

  1. On 3rd June, 1975, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company having place of business at Main and Fourth Streets, Winston -Salem, State of North Carolina 27101, United States of America, (hereinafter called the Applicants) applied for registration of a composite label Trade Mark consisting of word 'VANTAGE' and devise of a centre circle with colours deep blue, light blue and orange, in respect of specification of goods which reads as "Tobacco, Tobacco products and Smokers, articles, all included in class 34, cigarettes, cigars, cigarilloes, cheroots and filter tips for cigarettes". The application was ordered to be advertised before acceptane subject to limiting the colours as shown in the representation to the format application and subject to association with 271004. The application was advertised as such in the Trade Mark Journal No. 793 dated 16th June, 1982.

  2. On 4th August, 1982, Golden Tobacco Co. Ltd., having place of business at Tobacco House, Vile Parle West Bombay-400 056 (hereinafter called the Opponents) filed notice of opposition mainly on the following grounds:-

    That opponents are manufacturing and dealing in cigarettes under various distinctive brands such as PANAMA, BLUE BIRD, PREMIUM, COLLEM, GOLD FLAKE, GNAT, NEWDEAL, CHANCELLER, TARGET AND GOLDEN'S A-1. And that they have been using label mark comprising device of a shooting target alongwith the word 'TARGET' very prominently since Feb. 1971 and this label mark is registered under Registration No. 272900 B in respect of cigarettes.

    That by virtue of long and extensive user and as a result of the wide publicity carried out by the opponents in respect of aforesaid label, the Trade Mark 'TARGET' and the shooting device have become distinctive of and exclusively identified with them and their merchandise.

    That mark advertised under No. 306046 is deceptively similar to TARGET labels and/or the meaning conveyed by the mark in the present application is the same as that conveyed by their TARGET LABEL and is in respect of same or goods of the same description in respect of which their label under No. 27290BR stands registered and have the application is liable to be refused being open to objection U/S 11(a) & 12(1).

    That applicants are not the proprietors of the mark applied for then the mark applied for is not only imitation of or target cigarette label but also is violative of their copyright in the artistic work.

  3. The objection was also raised under Section 9 & Section 18(1).

  4. The applicants filed counterstatement which consists of general denials and it was specifically pleaded that

    Applicants are registered proprietors of Trade Mark 'VANTAGE' under Registration No. 271004 in class 34 in respect of 'Tobacco...

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