Rip Van Winkle Policy

Campus Activewear Limited’s press for relief can only be decided on claim of passing off. On a comparison, it is undeniable, there are structural and phonetic similarities between ‘CAMPUS’ and ‘CAMPS’.    

Rama Shankar Garg, sole proprietor of M/s. Baba Footwear, is the registered owner of the mark ‘CAMPS’. ‘CAMPS’ was accorded registration as early as 22.10.2001. Court, prima facie, is not satisfied with assertion of prior use by Campus Activewear Limited.

Rama Shankar Garg’s use was open, long and continuous with statutory protection. There is no material on record for Court to conclude dishonesty or misrepresentation. Given extensive experience, it is reasonable to assume, Campus Activewear Limited knew of Rama Shankar Garg’s mark prior to date claimed, but chose not to take any action on it.  

Campus Activewear Limited has failed to satisfy classic trinity test of passing off.          

Hon’ble Justice Sanjeev Narula of Hon’ble High Court of Delhi, Campus Activewear Limited v. Rama Shankar Garg, [CS(COMM) 387/2022] decided on 07.03.2023.

But I must assume also that they have not, during the period, been adopting a sort of Rip Van Winkle policy of going to sleep and not watching what their rivals and competitors in the same line of business were doing.”

Mr. Justice Eve, Cordes v. R. Addis & Sons, June 1923.[1]

[1] I found this citation at page 269 in Eashan Ghosh, ‘Imperfect Recollections: The Indian Supreme Court on Trade Mark Law’, (Thomson Reuters, 2020).