Intellectual property-focused firm Inttl Advocare is a well-known name among peers and clients for its heavyweight litigation practice. It is headquartered in New Delhi with a branch office in Mumbai. Eminent IP litigator Hemant Singh runs the firm and has handled more than 2,000 cases over his three decades of experience relating to all elements of IP from trademarks and patents to copyrights and industrial designs. The firm has featured in several landmark IP judgements delivered by the Indian courts.
Managing partner Singh and senior partner Mamta Rani Jha are the firm’s key intellectual property litigators.
The firm is representing Société Des Produits Nestlé, Anadolu Efes Biracılık ve Malt Sanayii Anonim Şirketi, Kia Motors and LG Electronics in their respective trademark infringement suits. Nail Alliance and Pernod Ricard India have instructed the firm for their separate trademark objection suits.
The team remains counsel for TTK Prestige in a case concerning the infringement of the client’s registered trademark and its logo, and unauthorised advertisement for sale of products bearing TTK’s trademark on an online website and mobile application. Other claims include misrepresentation, passing off, inducement to breach of contract, unfair competition and facilitating of sale of counterfeit products by the defendants on their websites. The courts laid down strict guidelines to be followed by e-commerce portals so that there is no unchecked sale of counterfeit, infringing and non-genuine sale of products. The landmark judgement underscored the protection of genuine products, particularly in online marketplaces.
In another precedent-setting matter, the partners are defending Nestlé against ITC allegations that it was passing off, under common law, the use of instant noodles sub-brand name ‘Magical Masala’. Nestlé in 2013 had launched ‘Magical Masala’ as a sub-brand for its well-known Maggi instant noodles. ITC claimed that ‘Magical Masala’ was deceptively similar to its own noodle brand, ‘Magic Masala’, and that ‘Magical Masala’ was only a slightly tweaked version of ‘Magic Masala’. The court, after going into the pleadings and evidence of the parties and the witnesses, discarded the claims of ITC and observed that as per ITC’s own documents ‘Magic Masala’ was never used as a trademark nor intended to be used so and the fact that no trademark application was filed further fortifies the same. The judgement by the single judge of the High Court of Madras clarifies the law concerning sub-brands used along with other well-known trademarks. It held that neither of the sub-brands could have acquired the distinctiveness to distinguish one product from the other based on the facts and circumstances of the present case. The court further reaffirmed this and held that even the law cannot come to the rescue of the brand owner if the mark adopted is inherently weak.
Adidas, Dabur India and Dart Industries also enlisted the firm during the research period for its contentious IP matters.