No injuction based on ‘TODAY’ says the Delhi High Court
TODAY, I was absolutely resolute to write an article on the issue of TODAY. Well, of course, I do mean ‘India Today’ and its failed interim injunction against TV channel ‘Nation Today.’
For those of you who need a quick background on the issue, the reputed India Today group had approached the Delhi High court for an interim injunction against the launch of a TV Channel by name ‘Nation Today’ on grounds of infringement of their trademarks (which also includes the mark “today” secured by it) by use of the term “today.” The Delhi High Court however unceremoniously and quite rightly in my humble opinion, denied the sought temporary injunction. (The order could be found here)
Reason for Denail
What actually surprised me in this issue was the conduct of India Today group as such. In a similar row where the plaintiff’s mark was alleged to be similar to another mark, ‘Punjab Today,’ the former had, without further thoughts, it appears, contended that its mark was overall dissimilar to ‘Punjab today,’ quite clearly implying that its mark could not be considered similar solely based on the term ‘today!’ Yet, it sought an injunction against the TV Channel ‘Nation Today’ which also, quite apparently, has only the term ‘Today’ in common.
The Delhi High Court, in my humble opinion, was completely right in denying the injunction. Though India Today per se comes with a gargantuan reputation and is well-known, the denial of injunction does indicate that there are limitations to the power that can be wielded by such high-profile marks. It is quite clear that India Today’s earlier ‘contention of dissimilarity’ solely based on the term ‘today’ (in its row against ‘Punjab today’) had considerably undermined its case for interim injunction. The fact that it did possess the mark “Today” carried no leverage at all. Also the fact that the term ‘today’ per se is ‘publici juris’ does not exactly help. It is also noteworthy that the term ‘Today’ is very commonly used in the newsline with many entities using the said term apart from the Plaintiff. This being the case, it would’ve been totally unfair if ‘Nation Today’ had been chastised in isolation.
Now let’s also assume the repercussions if the injunction has been granted. Well, I think we would have come across plethora of suits quarrelling over the most common of English words; maybe not ‘today’ but perhaps ‘tomorrow??’