The Delhi High Court recently awarded Starbucks litigation costs to the tune of ₹13 lakh in its suit filed over the infringement of its registered ‘FRAPPUCCINO’ trademark. (Starbucks Corporation v. LOL Cafe & Anr)
While also awarding the company damages of ₹2 lakh, Justice Navin Chawla held that Starbucks has a worldwide reputation in the ‘FRAPPUCCINO’ mark.
“The adoption of the mark ‘FRAPPUCCINO’ by the defendants is, therefore, dishonest, and is intended to deceive an unwary consumer. It amounts to infringement of the plaintiff’s trade mark and would also result in passing off the goods of the defendants as that of the plaintiff’s,” the Court said.
Starbucks approached the High Court alleging that a Jaipur-based café called ‘LOL Cafe’ was engaging in infringing its registered trademark ‘FRAPPUCCINO’. The coffee chain found that the Jaipur cafe was selling a beverage called ‘BROWNIE Chips FRAPPUCCINO’ without permission, authorization or license.
It thus sought a permanent injunction against the defendant café from using the ‘FRAPPUCCINO’ trademark, either alone or with any prefix or suffix.
On August 23, 2019, the Court had issued summons to the defendants and passed an ex-parte ad interim injunction against them.
However, despite this, the defendants chose not to appear or file their written statements, as a result of which they were proceeded against ex-parte.
The Court noted that Starbucks itself used its mark ‘FRAPPUCCINO’ with a suffix depicting the flavours of its beverages, like ‘Java Chip Frappuccino’ and others.
Therefore, the Court held that the adoption of the mark ‘FRAPPUCCINO’ by the defendants to be dishonest and intended to deceive an unwary consumer.
As regards damages to be awarded to Starbucks, the Court placed reliance on its own order in Teaquila A Fashion Cafe & Anr, where it awarded damages of ₹2 lakh.
“In my opinion, similar damages deserve to be awarded in favour of the plaintiff and against the defendants in the present suit as well,” Justice Chawla said.
The Court also held that Starbucks would be entitled to litigation costs to the tune of ₹13 lakh, apart from court fees.