Understanding Trademark Infringement and Passing Off Through the Lens of Fabindia vs Fab India Emporium Order

Understanding Trademark Infringement and Passing Off Through the Lens of Fabindia vs Fab India Emporium OrderIn the current fast-moving and dynamic economy, protecting Intellectual Property stands tall as one of the cornerstones for businesses to protect their brand identity and reputation. Trademarks play a pivotal role in these rights as they serve as a unique identifier of the origin and quality of goods and/or services. Trademark disputes arise when similar trademarks lead to confusion among consumers, potentially diluting the distinctiveness of a brand. Trademark infringement disputes often serve as litmus tests for the robustness of intellectual property laws. One such legal tussle is the Fabindia vs Fab India Emporium case, which not only underscores the importance of brand protection but also elucidates the complexities inherent in navigating the intricate web of trademark law.

Brief Synopsis of the Case

The plaintiff (Fabindia) – is an Indian retail company specialising in the production and sale of a wide range of handcrafted products. The plaintiff has extended its presence across India by establishing retail outlets in major cities and creating an online presence. The company was incorporated in 1960 and has been selling its products under the name ‘FABINDIA’. The plaintiff also has secured several registrations for the ‘FABINDIA’ mark(s). In January 2024, the plaintiff became aware of the defendant’s store, Fab India Emporium, in Delhi which operated in a similar industry segment.

The core contention of the conflict is regarding the use of the “FABINDIA” trademark, thereby creating confusion among consumers and diluting the distinctiveness of their brand identity. Alleging trademark infringement and passing off, Fabindia stated that Fabindia Emporium was leveraging the “Fabindia” name without authorisation, thereby encroaching upon its established brand identity and causing potential confusion among consumers.

To support their allegations, the plaintiff has provided evidence in the form of invoices from the defendants, highlighting the fact that the defendants are not just infringing on the mark but also conducting sales under the brand name.

The plaintiff contended that the ‘FABINDIA’ mark had acquired distinctiveness, reputation, and goodwill over time. The plaintiff has contended that the use of a similar/identical mark would likely cause confusion among consumers, which would lead to irreparable damages for the plaintiff. Therefore, the plaintiff sought an immediate ex-parte ad interim injunction.

Order Passed

The Court analysed the arguments set forth by the plaintiff and took cognisance of the fact that the plaintiff has a long-standing reputation with the ‘FABINDIA’ mark. The defendant’s action was likely to damage the reputation of the plaintiff. Therefore, the Court was satisfied that the plaintiff had made out a prima facie case and granted the ex-parte ad interim injunction.

The Court granted the reliefs that –

  1. The defendant or any person acting on behalf of the defendant is restrained from using the ‘FABINDIA’ mark.
  2. The defendants were also required to disclose their annual sales since the commencement of their operations under the certificate of a Chartered Accountant. They are also required to disclose the date on which they commenced operations by means of an affidavit.

Implication of the Order

The matter provides insight into the challenges inherent in protecting intellectual property rights in a competitive marketplace. Businesses should proactively monitor the markets for misappropriation of their trademarks. In case a potential infringement is found, they should promptly address the issue to seek relief against trademark infringement and/or passing off to preserve their brand integrity.

There are cases where similar trademarks may coexist in the marketplace, but it is the duty of businesses to ensure that there is a difference between the logos, end products, packaging, etc., to ensure that they are not encroaching upon any other businesses’ Intellectual Property Rights.


In essence, the Fabindia vs. Fab India Emporium order incorporated the myriad challenges present in safeguarding intellectual property rights in today’s dynamic commercial world. Through precedents and strategic foresight, businesses can navigate trademark disputes to ensure the sanctity of their brand reputation and goodwill.

Authors: Manisha Singh and Urvi Tripathi

First Published by: Mondaq here