The British School Society [TBSS] runs The British School, New Delhi [TBS]. ‘The British School’-mark has been adopted by Sanjay Gandhi Educational Society [SGES] in relation to identical services, i.e., educational services, for 4 schools.
The domain name of TBS is www.british-school.org, registered in 1999. TBS also has social media presence on Facebook, Instagram, et cetera. SGES runs: www.thebritishschool.org, registered in 2004.
It has been argued, i) there is no chance of confusion between schools of TBSS and SGES, located more than 240-400 kilometers away; ii) there is dissimilarity between logos.
The case has to be considered on principles of passing off. There are no documents on record to say, there is use of ‘The British School’-mark/name by any other school in India. The use of words ‘The British School’ signify TBSS and none else.
In an action for passing off, Court has to see possibility or likelihood of deception and misrepresentation. Court is convinced, SGES is wrongfully benefiting from TBSS’s mark ‘The British School’. Thus, SGES is reluctant to carry out any changes in name to obviate confusion! There is no doubt, appropriation of ‘The British School’-mark/name is with an intention to cause misrepresentation and confusion to public. Thus, SGES cannot be permitted to continue with use of ‘The British School’-mark/name for its 4 schools.
SGES has relied on Goenka Institute of Education & Research v. Anjali Kumar Goenka, AIR 2009 Delhi 139 – which is clearly distinguishable from facts of present case. TBSS has relied on The British School Society v. The British International School, 2022 (89) PTC 83 (DEL). Ritnand Balved Education Foundation v. Ranchhod M. Shah, 2018 (76) PTC 439 (DEL) has held, in field of education, any chance of confusion ought to be completely avoided.
“Defendants shall change name of their schools with effect from 01/05/2022. Certificates/Prizes/Medals to be given to students presently studying in Defendants’ schools shall be issued in name of ‘The British School’ only till end of academic year 2021-2022 and not beyond that.”
– Hon’ble Justice Pratibha M. Singh of Hon’ble High Court of Delhi, The British School Society v. Sanjay Gandhi Educational Society & Ors., [Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Limited v. Controller of Patents, [I.A. No. 13426/2021 in CS (COMM) 509/2021].
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