Toyota wins trademark dispute in India

Toyota, founded in Japan in 1937, has recently won a trademark dispute against two indian companies that had been infringing upon their mark.

According to the World IP Review, in 2009 Toyota accused Prius Auto Accessories Private and Prius Auto Industries of trademark infringement as they had been manufacturing car parts and branding them with the Toyota logo as well as the Toyota-owned trademarks ‘Qualis’, ‘Innova’, ‘Toyota’ and ‘Prius’.

On 8th July, the Delhi High Court ruled in favour of the Japanese car manufacturer and ordered the infringing companies to pay a fine of ten lakh rupees  (equivalent to $14,490) and to cease manufacturing the infringing goods.

Given the similarity of the goods, consumers would be confused as to their source identity and may mistake those of the indian companies to be genuine Toyota goods, therefore diluting the Japanese brand’s image.

Furthermore, according to the Economic Times, Judge Manmohan Singh who presided over the case declared that "the defendants' (two firms and their owners) use of these trademarks is mala fide, as it takes unfair advantage of such huge goodwill and reputation and aims to encash upon this vast reputation and goodwill”.

Counterfeiting is generally only seen to be a significant problem in the Fashion industry since it is fashion cases in that are most frequently reported in the press. However, counterfeiting can occur in any industry and therefore companies must be vigilant in protecting and policing their brands.

The best way to protect your company’s reputation, brand value and profits in today’s global marketplace is by registering a trademark and gaining trademark enforcement rights. However, just having the trademark is not enough. Like Toyota you would also need to police your market for potential infringements and then be prepared to act on them when they do arise.

For advice and more information on searching, acquiring, registering and enforcing Trademarks please visit our website,
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