Bombay HC restrains use of Yoko Sizzlers’ trademark by a Pune restaurant

bombay hc restrains use of yoko sizzlers’ trademark by a pune restaurant

Bombay HC

Mumbai: Merely because Yoko and Yokoso have different meanings in Japanese, it would not amount to dissimilarity of the marks in question, observed the Bombay High Court (HC) while restraining the latter, a Pune-based restaurant, from using the mark |Yokoso Sizzlers|.

Justice Manish Pitale, on Jan 19, granted interim relief to Yoko Sizzlers, which had filed an intellectual property rights suit against Yokoso Sizzlers.

“It is found that a strong prima facie case is made out on behalf of the plaintiff (Yoko Sizzlers), for granting ad-interim relief,” said the HC.

It further noted that unless the relief was granted, the plaintiff “will suffer grave and irreparable loss”, hence, the balance of convenience also lies in favour of the plaintiff.

The court added that a bare comparison between the two marks would show that the defendant (Yokoso Sizzlers) merely added the ‘so’ to the registered trademark.

“The impugned mark of the defendant is found to be deceptively similar to the registered trademark of the plaintiff,” the court said.

The court also agreed with the plaintiff’s arguments that Yokoso was trying to copy Yoko’s entire business idea. “…layout of the restaurant and table mats used therein, also prima facie, indicate the efforts on the part of the defendant to copy the business practices of the plaintiff, associated with the registered trademark Yoko Sizzlers,” it said.

According to the suit, Yoko Sizzlers has been in the hospitality business since 1986. The trademark was registered on June 16, 1994. It is running outlets all over the country and has presence in the form of its outlets, internationally in various countries like UAE, UK and Qatar.

The plaintiff came across Yokoso restaurant at Pune in August 2022. It is alleged that the defendant also copied Yoko’s website. Initially, Yoko Sizzlers served the defendant with a “cease and desist notice”.

However, as the defendant claimed that there was no infringement and continued using the mark, Yoko Sizzlers  filed the suit in the HC. The next hearing of the case is on Feb 24.

Bombay HC remarked…

Plaintiff will suffer grave, irreparable loss if relief not granted

Impugned mark deceptively similar to registered ones

Defendant tried to copy business practices of plaintiff

Next hearing

Feb 24

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