Delhi HC permanently bars Rajasthani restaurant from using ‘Sadda Pind’ mark, orders it to pay Rs 2 lakh to NGO

The Delhi High Court has permanently restrained a Rajasthan-based restaurant from using the name ‘Sadda Pind’ in a trademark infringement lawsuit moved by a company running a ‘Punjabi Culture Living Village Museum’ in Amritsar.

A single judge bench of Justice C Hari Shankar in its April 10 order decreed the lawsuit in favour of the plaintiff JDM Heritage Lawns Private Limited ordering a “permanent injunction” restraining the defendant – Ankit Chawla, the proprietor of Sadda Pind restaurant from using the mark ‘Sadda Pind’ or any such marks which are deceptively similar to the plaintiff’s registered word mark or device marks, for any purpose.

The court directed the defendant to remove from its websites and listings, physical as well as virtual, all references to the mark. It further held the defendant liable to pay “punitive costs of Rs 2 lakh” to an NGO ‘Shakuntala Poddar Welfare Foundation’, which works with underprivileged slum children, to be deposited with the registrar of the HC within eight weeks from the order.

In October last year, the high court in its interim order had temporarily restrained Chawla from using the marks in question. According to the plaintiff, it had registered the word mark Sadda Pind on October 16, 2015, as well as other device marks ‘Sadda Pind, Jewel of Punjab’ ‘Sadda Pind, Flavours Celebrations Culture’ in 2016 and 2017 respectively. “The outlet of the plaintiff, it is submitted, provides, inter alia, restaurant and boarding services,” the high court noted.

In its final order, Justice Shankar observed that after the order of interim injunction was passed, Chawla merely changed the infringing mark to ‘5ADDA P1ND’ instead of discontinuing its use. “This amounts to no less than cocking a snook at this court, especially given the observation of this court, that the mark “5” as used in “5ADDA PIND” is deceptively similar to ‘S’,” the court said and added that a defendant who behaves in such a fashion cannot be let off “light”.

“The defendant is not merely guilty of initial infringement but of continuous and obdurate insistence on persisting with its infringing activity despite several opportunities to discontinue the same. In the process, the plaintiff has been dragged into an unnecessary litigation and precious court time has been wasted. There has also been contumacious disobedience of the injunction order dated 7th October 2022 which ought… to expose the defendant to punitive action…,” the court observed.