Case Title: Burger King Corporation v. Swapnil Patil & Ors.
Date of Decision: 15th September 2023
Case Number: CS(COMM) 303/2022 & I.As.17896/2023
Coram: Justice Prathiba M. Singh
This case revolves around the protection of Burger King Corporation’s trademarks, including the ‘BURGER KING’ mark, the Crescent Logo Design, and Hamburger Refresh Design Logo. The plaintiff alleges that some of the defendants are operating fraudulent Burger King franchises, deceiving unsuspecting individuals and extorting money.
Burger King Corporation filed this suit to protect its trademarks from unauthorized use. The plaintiff claims that some of the defendants are fraudulently offering Burger King franchises, using deceptive domain names, and misusing the plaintiff’s brand and marks. The plaintiff alleges that certain defendants are operating fake franchises under the Burger King trademark and deceiving unsuspecting individuals, resulting in financial losses. The plaintiff discovered additional fraudulent activities related to two domain names: www.burgerkingind.co.in and www.burgerkingfranchisee.com.
The key legal issues in this case include trademark infringement, fraudulent use of domain names, and the need for immediate action to prevent further financial losses to unsuspecting consumers.
Observation and Analysis
The court observed that the plaintiff had already obtained interim injunctions to protect its rights in the ‘BURGER KING’ mark. However, the plaintiff discovered additional instances of fraud involving new domain names and websites. These fraudulent activities were causing financial losses to individuals who believed they were investing in legitimate Burger King franchises.
Decision of the Court
- In light of the observed fraudulent activities and to prevent further financial harm, the court issued several directions, including:
- Granting an interim injunction against the use of the ‘BURGER KING’ mark and related logos by specific domain names.
- Ordering the suspension/blocking of these domain names by the relevant registrars.
- Freezing the bank account associated with one of the fraudulent domain names and investigating how it was allowed to open without proper verification.
- Allowing the Delhi Police’s Cyber Cell to investigate relevant mobile numbers.
- Directing the Department of Telecommunications and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to issue blocking orders for the domain names/websites.
- Requiring the Bank of Maharashtra to disclose the account holder’s identity and KYC details.
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Written by – Ananya Chaudhary