The High Court of Karnataka has passed a verdict which can bring some trouble for Classic Legends, a joint incorporation between Mr Boman R. Irani of Rustomjee Group and Mahindra and Mahindra. In a recent verdict, the High Court of Karnataka has restrained Classic Legends and Boman R. Irani for using the ‘Yezdi’ trademark and branding. As per this verdict, both Mr Irani and Classic Legends now cannot use the ‘Yezdi’ name as a word or a device.
According to the verdict passed by the High Court of Karnataka, led by Justice S.R. Krishna, the original owner of the ‘Yezdi’ trademark is Ideal Jawa (India) Ltd, which is still under liquidation. The court has announced that the trademarks of the company are still in ‘custodia legis’ of the court, as the liquidation proceedings are on since 1991 through the Official Liquidator (OL).
Due to this verdict, all the registration certificates and trademarks issued by the Registrar of Trademarks, Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad in favour of Boman R. Irani have been declared null and void. The court has also ordered Trademark Registration Authority for transferring all the registrations and trademarks issued to Ideal Jawa through the OL.
Official statement from Classic Legends,
“The order is held in abeyance and the company is seeking legal advice on the matter. The company will be filing an appeal against the order shortly and is optimistic of securing favourable relief. In the interim, manufacturing and sale of motorcycles will continue, subject to orders of the Appellate Court.”
Obtaining the trademark in bad faith
The court also blamed Mr Irani for obtaining the registration of the trademark in bad faith. As a result, the court also declared that Mr Irani and Classic Legends are now liable to pay all the gains made from the use of the trademark to Ideal Jawa. In addition, both Classic Legends and Mr Irani have to provide all the details of the sales and earnings made using the ‘Yezdi’ trademark to the OL, apart from paying a cost of Rs 10 lakh each to the OL. The court also favoured the OL by permitting it to sell all the trademarks and associated rights over the trademark owned by Ideal Jawa by public auction, post proper valuation of the trademarks.
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While passing the verdict, the High Court of Karnataka has also kept this order in abeyance for a month to enable the aggrieved parties to challenge this verdict before the appellate forum. In its verdict, the court also said that Ideal Jawa has not yet lost its right over the trademark and Mr Irani could not have obtained the registration of ‘Yezdi’ during the process of winding up.
Boma R. Irani ‘acquired’ the rights of using the ‘Yezdi’ trademark during 2013-2015, post which Classic Legends was established with Irani as one of its directors. Under this new company, Jawa and Yezdi brands have been resurrected in the form of neo-retro motorcycle brands. Ideal Jawa, started by Boman R. Irani’s father Rustom S. Irani, owned the rights to the ‘Yezdi’ name, which was acquired by Boman after the demise of his father.
In his contention, Boman had claimed that the Yezdi trademark was abandoned by Ideal Jawa by not renewing it. As a result, ‘Yezdi’ was open to anyone to register before the trademark authority. However, the court rejected these claims, stating that Ideal Jawa, and not Rustom S. Irani, owned the rights to these trademarks and it has not abandoned the trademarks yet.
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