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Old 12th August 2015, 12:35   #1
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Default Audi set to lose TT trademark in India? High Court delivers ex-parte order

Delhi high court has granted an ex parte interim injunction which debars Audi from selling TT branded items and effectively the car as well. Even though, the injunction will most likely be set aside and Audi is expected to contest the case, it is a unique situation as Audi TT is a rather well established brand name in India.

There have been many such instances before as well. Maruti branding Splash as Ritz and Ford launching Everest as Endeavour in India are some of the more prominent ones that come to mind.

The Delhi High Court Order

Indian Express

Lawyer speak on Twitter
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Old 12th August 2015, 12:45   #2
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Default re: Audi set to lose TT trademark in India? High Court delivers ex-parte order

Oh come on! This is a joke right?! I mean how can someone get a well known German AUTOMOBILE brand which is available worldwide mixed up with an Indian CLOTHING manufacturer just because of the letters 'TT'?! (To be honest, I had never even heard of this clothing company till I read the Indian Express article!)

It's like saying people get confused between the Apple iPod and the Hyundai iLoad, just because both products have the letter "i".
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Old 12th August 2015, 13:08   #3
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Default re: Audi set to lose TT trademark in India? High Court delivers ex-parte order

Law does not work like that. If you hold a trademark (like TT Industries seems to say they do) and are in this business since 1964 and if you can prove that you have acquired enough brand equity (goodwill as they call it) for that trademark then anyone using that same mark, irrespective of the kind of product they sell, can be legally restrained.

In the late 80s or early 90s Apple Computer education was sued to change their name as Apple was a brand for a well known hardware company that made computers (at that time iPods and iPhones were not even in the horizon). After fighting it out and losing the case Apple Computer Education was rechristened to Aptech and changed their logo which frankly did not look anything like the Apple logo but did suggest a half eaten apple if you looked closely.
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Old 12th August 2015, 13:33   #4
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Default Re: Audi set to lose TT trademark in India?

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Originally Posted by Zappo View Post
Law does not work like that. If you hold a trademark (like TT Industries seems to say they do) and are in this business since 1964 and if you can prove that you have acquired enough brand equity (goodwill as they call it) for that trademark then anyone using that same mark, irrespective of the kind of product they sell, can be legally restrained.
It is true that you need to defend your trademark or risk losing it, but you are not guaranteed victory. You need to be in an arguably similar enough area to cause confusion, and/or the name/logo should be very unique as well as confusingly similar to the original. TT certainly does not qualify! Ambassador hotel doesn't have anything to fear from Ambassador car, or vice versa, for example. Or Hindustan Motors vs Hindustan Machine Tools vs Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd etc. But if you have a unique name (Airtel, say) then you can claim someone else who calls themselves Airtel ripped you off. Especially if they copied the logo too. Android 4.4 was called KitKat under a deal with Nestle -- Google couldn't have just gone ahead and used that name -- but Apple could call versions of OS X "Tiger", "Yosemite", etc no matter how many others use those names as trademarks, as long as those trademarks aren't in a competing field.

Google does seem to have stepped on the toes of BMW though, with its recent rebranding as Alphabet. Again the point is that BMW's Alphabet is in a business that arguably competes with Google, because of the latter's interest in the auto industry. Otherwise "Alphabet" is too generic a name for protection.

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In the late 80s or early 90s Apple Computer education was sued to change their name as Apple was a brand for a well known hardware company that made computers (at that time iPods and iPhones were not even in the horizon). After fighting it out and losing the case Apple Computer Education was rechristened to Aptech and changed their logo which frankly did not look anything like the Apple logo but did suggest a half eaten apple if you looked closely.
Interesting you mention Apple, since Apple Computer (the US company) was sued by the Beatles's record company, Apple Corps, for trademark infringement. The suit was settled for a quite modest sum with the agreement that they would stay out of each others' businesses (computers and music respectively). Which of course led to further skirmishes every time Apple Computer did something remotely music-related (culminating in iTunes, of course). Details on the wiki.
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Old 12th August 2015, 13:40   #5
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Default Re: Audi set to lose TT trademark in India?

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Originally Posted by rsidd View Post
It is true that you need to defend your trademark or risk losing it, but you are not guaranteed victory. You need to be in an arguably similar enough area to cause confusion, and/or the name/logo should be very unique as well as confusingly similar to the original. TT certainly does not qualify! Ambassador hotel doesn't have anything to fear from Ambassador car, or vice versa, for example. Or Hindustan Motors vs Hindustan Machine Tools vs Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd etc.
Reading the report, the order is against selling garments and other "TT" branded accessories - not against selling the Audi TT car itself. Since garments and accessories are the main business of TT Industries, I think they have a good case.
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Old 12th August 2015, 14:00   #6
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Default Re: Audi set to lose TT trademark in India? High Court delivers ex-parte order

So, this relatively unheard of TT Industries is afraid that its brand equity will be impacted by Audi TT?

Or is this just a ploy by TT Industries to get itself some visibility by going after Audi?
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Old 12th August 2015, 15:33   #7
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Default Re: Audi set to lose TT trademark in India? High Court delivers ex-parte order

You and I may not be wearing a TT branded cloth (innerwear); but there are millions out there would be prefer or buy a TT innerwear. I believe most govt servants and defense personnel would be buying these, as it is available at CSD.

Last edited by amtak : 12th August 2015 at 15:48.
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Old 12th August 2015, 18:16   #8
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Default Re: Audi set to lose TT trademark in India? High Court delivers ex-parte order

To avoid lawsuit, the new company trying to use an already trademarked name should acquire a license from the old company that originally trademarked the name.

An example,
Quote:
Originally Posted by wiki
In June 2010, Apple rebranded iPhone OS as "iOS". The trademark "IOS" had been used by Cisco for over a decade for its operating system, IOS, used on its routers. To avoid any potential lawsuit, Apple licensed the "IOS" trademark from Cisco.[27]
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Old 12th August 2015, 19:29   #9
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Default Re: Audi set to lose TT trademark in India? High Court delivers ex-parte order

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Originally Posted by Jeeper1941 View Post
Oh come on! This is a joke right?! I mean how can someone get a well known German AUTOMOBILE brand which is available worldwide mixed up with an Indian CLOTHING manufacturer just because of the letters 'TT'?! (To be honest, I had never even heard of this clothing company till I read the Indian Express article!)
On the other hand, I have heard of TT company all my life, their annual turnover last year exceeded $100 million, with presence in 65 countries. It is the name of their company, it is their brand. For Audi, it is just an car model. Audi really has no case against TT company.
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Old 13th August 2015, 03:32   #10
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Default Re: Audi set to lose TT trademark in India? High Court delivers ex-parte order

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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
On the other hand, I have heard of TT company all my life, their annual turnover last year exceeded $100 million, with presence in 65 countries. It is the name of their company, it is their brand. For Audi, it is just an car model. Audi really has no case against TT company.
Fair enough, they have no presence in this part of the world though, so many of us here haven't heard of them.

However, there are several companies (worldwide) who use "TT" as part of their company name, and how come they never had a problem with Audi?

Some examples:
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Audi set to lose TT trademark in India? High Court delivers ex-parte order-tt_logo_1.png  

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Old 13th August 2015, 12:00   #11
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Default Re: Audi set to lose TT trademark in India? High Court delivers ex-parte order

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Originally Posted by Jeeper1941 View Post
Fair enough, they have no presence in this part of the world though, so many of us here haven't heard of them.

However, there are several companies (worldwide) who use "TT" as part of their company name, and how come they never had a problem with Audi?
My apologies if my answer appears too legal. The law has a way of working. First of all intellectual property rights including trade marks are territorial in nature. Meaning thereby if it is legal in another country doesn't mean it is legal in other countries also. So using TT for any industry outside India will not have any implications provided TT is not registered there. Secondly, trade mark rights in particular are meant to prevent confusion, i.e. if common public is likely to get deceived by a mark which is already registered then is infringement of trade mark rights. Common public means common man and not enthusiasts or people having above average knowledge. Thirdly, this confusion is assessed for similar goods. So if someone has already registered TT for classes covering fabrics or accessories, then anyone even Audi cannot use it for same thing. But it doesn't stop other people to use it for say life insurance services, food, restaurants or even cars. In all honesty, the car should steer clear of the problems but their apparels and accessories are likely to get into trouble.

Had they consulted any sane lawyer with at least some knowledge of trade marks they could have completely avoided being in the news for all the wrong reasons. It is amusing that big international companies that go all blaring over their wonders are stupid enough to choose to miss these.

Last edited by mandywanders : 13th August 2015 at 12:26. Reason: Some additions and clarifications.
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Old 13th August 2015, 12:16   #12
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Default Re: Audi set to lose TT trademark in India? High Court delivers ex-parte order

Hey if any of you guys are having a tough time remembering TT industries I have the Jingle for you. it went like this "TT underwear, TT baniyaan" (catchy Music)" pasand babuji ki, pasand beteji ki, pasand yeh sabhi ki, TT"
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Old 13th August 2015, 12:30   #13
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Default Re: Audi set to lose TT trademark in India? High Court delivers ex-parte order

Abroad they have a clause that companies should not be involved in the same business. In this case also they are completely different segments. Doesn't such a thing exist in India?

This has surely added some good visibility to TT
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Old 13th August 2015, 12:38   #14
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Default Re: Audi set to lose TT trademark in India? High Court delivers ex-parte order

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Originally Posted by Jeeper1941 View Post
However, there are several companies (worldwide) who use "TT" as part of their company name, and how come they never had a problem with Audi?
The trouble only started when Audi started merchandising the name TT, selling clothing in India. You can't have two companies selling clothes in the same country using the same brand name.

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Old 13th August 2015, 13:47   #15
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Default Re: Audi set to lose TT trademark in India? High Court delivers ex-parte order

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Originally Posted by mandywanders View Post
My apologies if my answer appears too legal.
Thank you very much for that. I had no idea about the intricacies involved with this!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
The trouble only started when Audi started merchandising the name TT, selling clothing in India. You can't have two companies selling clothes in the same country using the same brand name.

Attachment 1403239
That makes sense, but (and sorry to nitpick!) Audi's merchandise seems to have the full name, i.e "Audi TT" on their clothes? Looking at the TT company's website, they only have the letters "TT" (spelt T.T.) on their clothes.

Also, according to the Indian Express article, the original TT clothing company is also including "toy cars" in its trademark/copyright case. I don't understand how Audi selling toy cars can in any way affect the TT clothing company. Apologies if I have missed something, but could someone please enlightn me as to why the TT clothing company is also including toy cars in its case? Thank you!
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