The Fight over “Indigo” trademarks

August 24, 2015

Two giant companies namely, Tata Motors and Interglobe Aviations (IndiGo Airlines) have locked horns over trademark altercation involving the word Indigo. Indian Business Daily, Economic Times on August 22 reported that Interglobe Aviation faces ownership risk as Tata Motors has claimed that Interglobe’s use of IndiGo name is an infringement of its registered trademark Indigo which it uses for its Sedans since 2002.

Indigo trademarks

Reportedly, the alleged trademark row had sparked off in 2005 itself, however Interglobe was subsequently successful in registering its trademarks. At present Tata Motors is opposing various trademarks of Interglobe- IndiGo, IndiGo Airways, IndiGo Airlines and IndiGo Air.

Trademark Tryst in the case

Indigo Marks of Tata Motors and Interglobe Aviation

Tata Motors

Interglobe Aviation

Interglobe Aviation

From the aforesaid, Tata Motors is prior filer of the term Indigo i.e. Tata applied for the mark in 2001 whereas Interglobe Aviation applied for the mark in the year 2004. Other noticeable factor is that Tata’s mark Indigo is for land vehicles falling under class 12 whereas Interglobe’s mark Indigo is for transport, packaging and storage of goods falling under class 39.

Under the Indian Trademark Law, a trademark registered for particular good and services prima facie does not have a valid infringement claim against another trademark registered for different goods and services. However, under the Trademark Act, a well-known trademark is protected even for goods and services falling in different classes. This extraordinary protection is granted to well-known marks.

In the instant case, Tata’s mark Indigo as well as since 2005 Interglobe’s mark IndiGo have become well known in their respective industries, leading to an interesting tussle between the two giants.

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