Violation of Mattel's Copyright in Rainforest Family Restrained by Delhi High Court
The Court examined the six characters of 'Rainforest Family' and opined that they had been uniquely prepared with the unique colour combination which is attractive and appealing to the children.
Mattel's arguments in the court
Mattel inc. (Plaintiff) filed a case against Present Enterprises for copyright infringement. The Plaintiff apprised the Court about the facts of the case. The Plaintiff stated that it has been selling games, toys etc. for children since the year 1945 and was one of the biggest manufacturers and sellers of the children's toys in the world.
In 2012, the Plaintiff launched a set of cartoon animal characters titled as ‘Rainforest Family’ which consists of six animal characters. In India, these products were launched in 2018 with a lot of promotion. With the launch, they also applied for registration of the trademark ‘KICK AND PLAY’ and the shape mark of its ‘KICK AND PLAY’ baby gym in India.
Plaintiff alleged that the Defendants have infringed its copyright in 'Rainforest Family’ and also passed off the goods under the trademark and shape mark of ‘KICK AND PLAY’.
In its defence the Plaintiff stated that by virtue of Section 40 of the Copyright Act, registrations that it had been granted in respect of six characters in the USA would also extend to India in terms of International Copyright order notified in the Official Gazette on 24th March 1999.
Court granted an ex parte ad-interim injunction
The Court examined the six characters of 'Rainforest Family' and stated that they had been uniquely prepared with the unique colour combination which is attractive and appealing to the children.
While adjudicating in favour of the Plaintiff the Court stated the Plaintiff had made out a prima facie case in its favour at this stage. Therefore, the Court granted an ex parte ad-interim injunction qua the copyright violation.
On the issue of trademark violation of its word mark ‘KICK AND PLAY’ as also the design mark, the Court reserved its decision and decided to first hear the defendants before passing any ad-interim injunction.
The Court also restrained the violation of the copyright in the six characters of the ‘Rainforest Family’ in any manner by any party till the next date of hearing.
Consequently, till the next date of hearing, an ex-parte ad-interim injunction is granted in favour of the plaintiff and against the defendants restraining defendant Nos.1 (Present Enterprises), 2, 3, 4 (Flipkart) and the other defendants sought to be impleaded as John Doe as defendant No.5, their proprietors, successors, agents, associates, affiliates from in any manner violating the plaintiff’s copyright in the six characters of the ‘Rainforest Family’ in any manner on their products till the next date of hearing.
Court asked Flipkart asked to remove listings of infringing products
Pursuant to its order of restraining copyright violation, the Court asked Flipkart to remove listings relating to the advertisement and sale of the products in violation of Mattel's copyright in the six characters of the ‘Rainforest Family’.
The Court stated,
In the meantime, on the plaintiff providing the URLs within three days, defendant No.4 will remove the listings from its platform which relate to the advertisement and sale of the products which violate the copyright of the plaintiff in the six characters of the ‘Rainforest Family’ within 48 hours.
Summons were issued and the matter has been listed for hearing on January 8.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
Around The World