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A summary judgment can be passed without recording evidence if it appears that defendants have no real prospect of defending the claim: High Court of Delhi

Order XIII-A of the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act, 2015 empowers the Court to pass a summary judgment without recording evidence if it appears that defendants have no real prospect of defending the claim is upheld by High Court of Delhi through the learned bench led by Justice Amit Bansal in the case of CENTURY 21 REAL ESTATE LLC vs. ALCHEMIST LTD & ANR. [CS(COMM) 416/2020] on 24.01.2022.

The facts of the case are that the plaintiff was the registered proprietor of trademark “CENTURY 21” of both, a standalone word mark and also as a house mark. He was considered as a prominent and globally renowned franchisor in the field of real estate and has used the aforesaid trademark in the course of his business. The plaintiff entered into a Sub-Franchise Agreement with defendant whereby he was granted an exclusive right to use and sublicense the “CENTURY 21” trademarks in India. On account of non-fulfilment of commitments under the said agreement, the plaintiff terminated the agreement but the defendants continued to host the websites www.century21.co.in and www.century21.com.

The present suit was filed by the plaintiff for permanent injunction to restrain infringement of trademark, passing off, rendition of accounts of profits, and damages. The defendants despite service of the summons in suit and the notice issued, failed to appear or to file written submission so they were proceeded ex-parte. Consecutively, the plaintiff filed an application under Order VIII Rule 10 of the CPC.

The plaintiff’s counsel contended that despite termination of the agreement, the defendants continued to host the websites www.century21.co.in and www.century21.com. Counsel submitted that the defendants even after the termination of the franchise agreement and after being put to notice about the plaintiff’s right continued to renew the registration of the said domain names, which clearly shows that the defendants have misused the plaintiff’s registered trademark.

Considering the facts and circumstances, a decree was passed in favour of the plaintiff as it was found that the defendants were using the registered trademark ‘CENTURY21’ of the plaintiff in their website’s domain name with a view to trade upon and benefit from the immense reputation and goodwill of the plaintiffs’ mark and pass off its services as that of the plaintiffs.

In the Court’s opinion, the defendants had no real prospect of defending the claim as they neither entered appearance nor filed their written statement. It was stated by the Court that “Order XIII-A of the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act, 2015 empowers the Court to pass a summary judgment without recording evidence if it appears that defendants have no real prospect of defending the claim”.

Click here to read the Judgment

Judgment reviewed by – Shristi Suman

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