Burger King Corp., a US headquartered fast food chain, opened its first outlet in India on 9th November, 2014. The US based Company, however, is already embroiled in trademark battle in India and had even approached Delhi high court in August this year seeking permanent injunction against a number of parties who, it claimed, were infringing its trademark BURGER KING registered in India since 1979.
Consequently, the Company feared that the defendants in the infringement suit may jeopardise its launch by obtaining injunction against its opening from any district court in the country. Accordingly, the Company approached the Delhi High Court seeking assurance from the Court that defendants in the trademark infringement suit be restrained from approaching lower courts for stay orders against its launch and all the disputes surrounding its trademark should be brought only in the Delhi High Court, where the case is pending.
Delhi High Court has ordered all the parties to maintain status quo with regard to registration of any legal proceedings paving the way for the multinational food chain to smoothly start its operations in India though the trademark dispute remains pending.
It is not important to note that though the trademark BURGER KING has been registered in India since 1979, the Company had, hitherto, launched its products nor had any franchisees in India. However the Company has been successful in securing an ex-parte interim in its favour before the Delhi High Court (CS (OS)2200/2014) based on the worldwide reputation and goodwill of its mark.
Earlier in 2008, the company had sent a legal notice to Pune based restaurant “Burger King” for infringing its mark. While the restaurant claimed that that they had been using the mark since 1992 and had no knowledge of their American counterpart, they were restrained from using the mark by the Pune District Court.