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Delhi HC restrains news channel from using ‘AP News Now’ name following BCCL’s plea

MUMBAI: The Delhi High Court has restrained Sri Venkata Sharvani Media Broadcasting from using the name ‘AP News Now’ for its proposed news channel following a plea by Bennett Coleman & Company Ltd (BCCL) alleging copyright infringement by the respondent.

The HC has issued summons to Sri Venkata, which is returnable before the Joint Registrar on 21 July, for completion of service and pleadings and submission of statements of admission/denial of documents.

BCCL had filed a petition seeking to retrain Sri Venkata Sharvani Media from using ‘Now’ in its channel name since the same is the trademark of the company. The company also alleged that ‘AP News Now’ is making false representation of being associated with BCCL.

BCCL complained that the logo and the placement of the word ‘Now’ in the channel name ‘AP News Now’ was deceptively similar to the logo and the placement of the word ‘Now’ in the logo owned by BCCL.

The defendants are also stated to have advertised and published the news about the launch of its channel ‘India Now’ on its website (http://apnewsnow.in/).

Passing an injunction, Justice Siddharth Mridul restrained the channel, cable operators, multi-system operators (MSOs), direct-to-home (DTH) operators and all other entities associated with them from using the name until the next date of hearing, which is 25 September.

The bench retrained Sri Venkata Sharvani Media Broadcasting from adopting and using the channel name ‘AP News Now’ or any other mark/name which is identical or deceptively similar to BCCL’s channel name/registered mark ‘Times Now’.

It also retrained them from adopting and using the channel name ‘AP News Now’ or any other mark or name in a logo style, format, font or get-up, colour scheme, which is a colourable imitation or substantial reproduction of the plaintiff’s ‘Times Now’ logo, get-up and colour scheme.

The respondent has also been restrained from using the word ‘Now’, either singly or in conjunction with any other word or mark, or any deceptive variant of the well-known trademark ‘Now’, or by suffixing or prefixing with any other word, mark, logo or with any other mark of the plaintiff, as a trademark, trading style, domain name, keywords or metatags, amounting to infringement, passing off and dilution of the plaintiff’s trademarks.

Sri Venkata cannot use the domain name ‘apnewsnow.in’ or any other website/domain name that is identical or confusingly similar to BCCL’s domain name/website timesnow.tc, moviesnow.co.in, romedynow.com, economictimes.indiatimes.com/et-now or any other name in similar fashion for any internet site or social media site, account or handle.

In its petition, BCCL claimed that the trademark ‘Now’ was registered in the name of the company on 17 March 2010, under Class 35 of the Trademarks Act, 1999.

It also contended that the logo and the placement of the word ‘Now’ in the word ‘AP News’ is deceptively similar to the logo and the placement of the word ‘Now’ in the logo owned by the plaintiff. Sri Venkata is also planning to launch a national news channel ‘India Now’.

BCCL urged that the mark ‘Now’ adopted by the company would create the impression of origin, connection, affiliation or association with the plaintiff in the minds of potential customers and public at large.