On Friday, the Delhi High Court granted interim relief to the ‘Times Now’ channel by restraining ‘Republic TV’ from using the tagline ‘NEWS HOUR’ or any other mark that may be deceptively similar to it for its primetime debate show.
The bench headed by Justice Jayant Nath said that the Republic TV’s editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami was free to use the tagline “nation wants to know” as part of his speech or presentation of any news channel. Meanwhile, it had also ordered Goswami and ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd, which owns Republic TV, to maintain accounts if they choose to use the tagline as a trademark with respect to any of their goods or services.
While the Petitioner, Bennett Coleman also objected to the use of “Nation wants to know’ by the Republic TV, citing that the said expression was used by it as a trademark, the Court held that the same can be decided only after evidence is completed between the parties.
“In these facts and circumstances, prima facie it is not possible, at this stage without leading of evidence, to come to a conclusion that the defendants (ARG Outlier Media and Mr. Goswami) seek to mislead the consumers of the news channel or that the action of the defendants in using the said tagline would cause damage to the plaintiff as claimed,” noted the High Court bench.
The present suit, filed by Bennett Coleman, contended that the Republic TV management had 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 program under the trademark and tagline.
Meanwhile, Goswami in his 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.
Subsequently, the High Court observed that “The undisputed facts show that the mark ‘News Hour’ is a registered trademark prima facie used by the plaintiff since 2006. In the facts of this case, in my view, merely adding some prefixes or suffixes to the trademark ‘News Hour’, in my opinion, does not help the defendants to claim that the mark which is being used by the defendants is not deceptively similar to that of the plaintiff.”