Following a trademark infringement complaint from a manufacturer of MSG, the Delhi High Court has suspended the release of the movie “Ajinomoto.”
The Plaintiff has filed the instant suit, inter alia, seeking permanent injunction restraining infringement of registered trademark “AJINOMOTO”, passing off, unfair competition, delivery up, rendition of accounts, damages, among other ancillary reliefs.
The case as set out in the plaint is as follows: Plaintiff, the largest seasoning manufacturer in Japan, adopted and registered the trademark “AJI-NO-MOTO”, primarily used for Monosodium Glutamate [“MSG”] and is manufactured and marketed by Plaintiff worldwide.
The said trademark appears on other products manufactured by Plaintiff as well. “AJI-NOMOTO” was coined by Plaintiff’s predecessor-in-title as a unique combination of words meaning “Essence of Taste” in Japanese.
The trademark “AJI-NO-MOTO” in Japanese characters was first registered in Japan in the year 1909 and subsequently, in English characters in the year 1964.
Senior Advocate Sudhir Chandra, appearing for the Plaintiff, submitted that although the film has not been released and contents thereof are not known to the public, however, it is blatantly clear that the storyline, as per the statement, is conceived and fashioned metaphorically around the cooking ingredient which directly links to the Plaintiff.
He contended that as per Plaintiff’s knowledge, film has not been certified by Central Board of Film Certification [“CBFC”] as yet. Even otherwise, he argues the title of a film is always subject to change, in light of the decision of the Supreme Court in Shri Babuji Rawji Shah v. S. Hussain Zaidi & Ors.
The single judge bench of Justice Sanjeev Narula said that the Plaintiff has made out a prima facie case in their favour; balance of convenience also lies in favour of the Plaintiff and against the Defendants; in case an ex-parte injunction is not granted, Plaintiff shall suffer irreparable loss.
The bench ordered that till the next date of hearing, Defendants shall not release the film under the title “AJINOMOTO” or any film bearing an identical or deceptively similar title/ name in any format i.e., cinema hall release, DVD/ VCD release, release through OTT platforms, etc.
Case title: Ajinomoto Co Inc v/s Dattatrey Studios & Anr.
Citation: CS(COMM) 822/2022