Karnataka HC relief for management school in trademark row with US magazine, Legal News, ET LegalWorld – Legal Firms


In a big relief for Vogue Institute of Management, Bengaluru, the high court set aside an order passed by a city court, permanently restraining it from using the word ‘Vogue’.

The said order was passed by the VIII additional city civil judge, Bengaluru, on September 25, 2014 on a suit filed by Advance Magazine Publishers Inc, USA, publishers of Vogue fashion and lifestyle magazine, raising a trademark dispute.

“The magazine which is published by the plaintiff (Advance Magazine Publishers) is a fashion magazine which is not subscribed or read by a large section of the general public. It is used by that limited section of society which is generally aware about fashion. Subscribers of the magazine of the plaintiff are likely to know that the plaintiff is involved only in the business of publishing magazines and not running any institute,” Justice MI Arun noted.

“Similarly, the persons who join the defendant’s institute are those who have knowledge about the fashion world and taking into consideration the degree of care that an average student is likely to exercise, it is highly unlikely that they would confuse the institute of the defendants as one belonging to the plaintiff. Further, no evidence is provided by the plaintiff to show otherwise,” the judge added.

“The trial court failed to appreciate the aforementioned factor. It applied the test i.e. applicable to a common man who would get confused by the use of the word ‘VOGUE’ itself and came to the erroneous conclusion that the defendants’ institute can be passed off as the institute of the plaintiff,” the judge said, while allowing the regular first appeal (RFA) filed by the Bengaluru-based institution.

The appellants had argued that the US-based plaintiff had committed fraud and misrepresentation and got registration of the trademark.

According to the appellant, they were not selling the product like a magazine and there is no similarity between their businesses as they are running an educational institution which is totally different from the business of the plaintiff.


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