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Delhi High Court Resolves Decades-Long IP Dispute Over ‘Fieldmarshal’ Trademark

Delhi High Court Resolves 40-Year Intellectual Property Dispute Over ‘Fieldmarshal’ Trademark

In a significant ruling, the Delhi High Court, through Justice Pratibha M Singh, settled a protracted legal battle concerning intellectual property rights dating back 40 years. The case, brought forth by PM Diesels Private Limited against Thukral Mechanical Works, resulted in a verdict restraining the latter from utilizing the ‘Fieldmarshal‘ trademark.

Acknowledging the extensive duration of the dispute, the High Court underscored PM Diesels’ substantial financial outlay in safeguarding the ‘Fieldmarshal’ mark and defending against multiple legal actions initiated by Thukral. Moreover, the litigation consumed considerable judicial resources, with over 20 hearings dedicated to resolving the intricate array of issues between the parties.

The Court’s ruling included a decree for actual costs, with the taxation officer tasked to quantify these expenses. Pursuant to the Commercial Courts Act, 2015, and Delhi High Court (Original Side) Rules, 2018, alongside IPD Rules, the directive was issued for the filing of a bill of costs within four weeks.

The genesis of the dispute traces back to PM Diesels’ 1985 injunction plea against the use of the ‘Fieldmarshal’ mark or any deceptively similar variants. The petitioner sought relief against Thukral’s alleged infringement through the sale of diesel oil engines, pumps, and electric motors under the same mark.

Over the ensuing decades, the case spawned a dozen related litigations, encompassing challenges to the mark’s validity and contesting Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) decisions. The legal odyssey traversed various judicial forums, including the Delhi High Court, Karkardooma district court, and IPAB.

The High Court’s ruling effectively prohibits Thukral from manufacturing products under the ‘Fieldmarshal’ mark. However, considering Thukral’s existing inventory of centrifugal pumps and other goods bearing the mark, a six-month grace period was granted to exhaust the stock. Furthermore, Thukral Mechanical Works was restrained from producing any new products under the ‘Fieldmarshal’ trademark.

The landmark judgment brings closure to a protracted legal saga, underscoring the judiciary’s role in resolving complex intellectual property disputes while upholding the principles of fairness and equity.

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