Republic TV Cannot Use Term "Newshour" For Now: Delhi High Court
An interim relief was granted by Delhi High Court to Times Now. The injunction passed by the Court restrains Republic TV from using the trademark ‘NEWSHOUR’ or any other mark that may be deceptively similar to it.
Times Now filed a lawsuit against Republic TV to restrain Arnab from using News Hour' and 'Nation Wants to Know'
Benett Coleman & Co., the parent company of the channel Times Now, petitioned the court against Republic TV. The media conglomerate sought a permanent injunction against Arnab Goswami's ARG Media Outlier from using the marks 'News Hour' and 'Nation Wants to Know' or any other derivatives or combinations of the same.
The dispute between the two channels goes way back to 2016 when Anchor Editor Arnab Goswami's exited Times Now to set up his own venture ARG Outlier Media Ltd of which the Republic Network is a product.
During his time at Times Now, the channel launched one of its flagship debate/discussion programs titled News Hour in 2006.
‘Nation Wants to Know’ has been used by him frequently and consistently, says Arnab Goswami
Times Group registered the trademark "News Hour" under Classes 16, 35 and 38 in 2014 and the mark itself has been in use since 2006. Therefore, the plaintiff Group claimed statutory right over this trademark.
Times Now contended that the Republic TV management filed trademark applications for ‘Nation Wants to Know’, ‘Arnab Goswami Newshour’ and ‘Goswami Newshour Sunday’, and alleged that Goswami was trying to take undue advantage of his past services with Times Network and the popularity of the programme under the trademark and tagline.
Goswami, in reply, had questioned registration of the trademark granted to Times Now for ‘The Newshour’, contending that it lacks distinctiveness and that the tagline ‘Nation Wants to Know’ has been used by him frequently and consistently.
As regards the phrase "Nation wants to know", while Times Group claimed that the tagline was a product of the efforts of the editorial and marketing team during the creative efforts undertaken for and on behalf of the plaintiff group. Goswami countered this by stating that the phrase or line was used by him during his time at the Times Group and was neither scripted nor planned or a product of a creative process. It was just a line that happened to be used as part of a common speech by Goswami during his then debate program on Times Now.
Interim relief granted to Times Now with respect to News Hour
Noting the arguments, the Single Judge Bench of Justice Jayant Nath granted interim relief to Times Now while restraining Republic TV from using the trademark ‘NEWS HOUR’ or any other mark that may be deceptively similar to it. The Court, however, refused to grant any interim relief with respect to use of the tag line "nation wants to know" stating that a detailed examination of the issue is required.
The Court observed the tagline in dispute is not a registered mark and both parties stake claim on giving rise to the question of whether the defendant was indulging in passing off.
The Court stated this issue needs a further examination of documents adduced by both sides and can be done when the parties lead evidence.
Therefore, in a partial relief, the Court granted an interim injunction in favour of Times Group, refraining Republic Network from using "News Hour" or anything deceptively similar to it with no interim relief being granted with respect to "nation wants to know"
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