Prasar Bharati given court order to refrain from DISH trademark infringement | Broadcast | News | Rapid TV News
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The Delhi High Court has given public broadcaster Prasar Bharati three months to rename its DD Free Dish direct-to-home (DTH) service following a trademark challenge by Dish TV India.

DD Free Dish logo 24 June 2109In an interim order, Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said the public service broadcaster must refrain from infringing Dish TV India’s trademark by adopting the mark ‘DD Free Dish’ or any other mark incorporating the word ‘Dish’ in it during the ongoing law suit.

“I am dismayed that the defendant, a public sector enterprise, indulged in using another’s trademark and in spite of the plaintiff objecting thereto, refused to act reasonably. The same is not expected of a public sector enterprise which according to the proclaimed litigation policy of the Government is not to be indulged in,” the judge said.

“It is at least now expected that the officials responsible for the conduct of the business of the defendant will bestow attention thereto and take a call, whether it is worthwhile to contest this litigation, obviously at the cost of the exchequer,” added Justice Endlaw.

The plaintiff, which provides DTH services to more than 16 million subscribers, claimed it is the original coiner, first adopter, prior user and the registered proprietor of the trademark/corporate name ‘DISHTV’ since 2003. Its use of the trademark is, it argued, protected under the Copyright Act, 1957.

Dish TV India’s grievance was that in May 2014, Prasar Bharati renamed its free-to-air DTH service DD Direct+ to Free Dish.

It claimed that the defendant even adopted a logo which was deceptively similar to that of the plaintiff, with the intention of benefitting from Dish TV India’s good reputation.

Prasar Bharati argued that there was no similarity between DD Free Dish and DISHTV and hence there was no possibility of anyone being misled, especially as DD Free Dish was the only free-to-air DTH platform in India.

The defendant added that ‘DISH’ is a generic word used to describe equipment which receives the satellite signals and so could not be the subject matter of an exclusive right. It also stated that that the term DISH was not distinctive in nature.

The court said that given DISHTV had been registered for the last 16 years without objection against its registration or lack of distinctiveness, the defendant was not be entitled to defend the claim for infringement on such grounds.

The court said: “Even though the defendant’s mark has the word ‘DD’ and which indeed is associated by all concerned with Doordarshan, but considering the complex public private partnerships/ventures and different business modules prevalent today, it cannot be said that the same is incapable of breaking the connection or identity which is bound to be formed in the minds of a consumers / subscribers or public at large, finding the word ‘DISH’ being used by the defendant for the service which was earlier called ‘DD Direct+’ by the defendant”.

It added: “There can be similar other myriad opinions which can be formed because of such association. The entire law of trademarks is to prevent the same from happening and once the possibility of such opinions/impressions being formed is found to exist, the law has to intervene and stop infringement”.

The Court allowed Dish TV India’s application for an interim injunction during the pendency of the suit.

The matter has been listed before the Joint Registrar on 24 July to schedule the date of a trial.