Three is a Crowd: The Triple Identity Principle

Three is a Crowd: The Triple Identity PrincipleTrademarks act as a source identifier and are used to strike a chord with a consumer’s sentiments. In a claim for passing off before the Delhi High Court, the Bench relied on the triple identity principle to assess the likelihood of confusion.

The Plaintiff, Banyan Tree Holdings, being the proprietor of the mark ANGSANA in connection with hospitality services such as resort and spa services, had secured registrations in Classes 16, 21, 24, 25, 41, 42 and 43, which have been in use since the year 2000. The Plaintiff being aggrieved by the usage of ANGSANA THAI SPA by the Defendant for identical services and use as a domain name, instituted a suit praying for an injunction which was granted on account of the balance of convenience being in favour of the Plaintiff. Subsequently, the Plaintiff filed an application seeking summary judgment before the Delhi High Court.

The Court considered the elements of the rival marks.



The Court stated that the use of an identical name for identical goods/services was a violation of the Plaintiff’s statutory and common law rights and would result in an erosion of the Plaintiff’s goodwill. The Court observed that the rival marks were identical, being used for identical goods/services and were used in the same business channels and confirmed that it satisfied the requirements of the triple identity principle used in determining the likelihood of confusion. The Plaintiffs submitted photographs where the mark was conspicuously displayed at the Defendant’s property and prayed for an injunction against the Defendant.

The Court considered the unrestrained usage of the mark by the Defendants and passed an order for a permanent injunction against the Defendants and directed them to transfer the domain name to the Plaintiff. This judgement reiterates the importance of the triple identity principle and provides clarity in the manner of assessment of the likelihood of confusion.

Authors: Manisha Singh and Tushitta Murali

First published by Lexology Here