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Couture Week organisers dragged to court

New Delhi: A day before the start of a couture week here, the Delhi High Court Monday restrained its organisers from using the word "Pearl" during the event due to allegations of trademark infringement.

The organiser, Fashion Design Council of India and principal sponsor Pearls Infrastructure Projects Limited (PIPL), were restrained from using the word in relation to the six-day event starting Tuesday.

The order was passed by Justice S. Ravindra Bhat after a petition was filed by the Little People Educational Society, the owners of the Pearl Academy of Fashion, alleging that the use of the word "Pearl" by the organisers will amount to infringement of its trademark right.

The petitioner moved the court after it came to know that PIPL along with FDCI is going to organise a couture week in the capital.

It said that PIPL is engaged in infrastructure development and tourism and with no association with education, is now planning to start a fashion academy.

"Such a development is likely to hurt its interests as it is known in the fashion industry for its quality of education and services," said the petition filed by the academy.

It argued that it is the proprietor of the registered trademark since 1993 and has been spending money towards brand promotion to the tune of Rs.9 crore.

The academy also submitted before the court that it has been associated with a large number of fashion events throughout the world and such a step by PIPL would create confusion in the market and in the minds of the customers.

It also submitted a list of prominent celebrities whose clothes have been designed by the alumni of the academy.

The petition said that the academy had intimated the FDCI about its concerns but it did not take any action and entered into an agreement with PIPL to hold the week.

"In view of the material available on record, the court is satisfied prima facie that the plaintiff has a strong case for grant of interim relief," said Justice Bhat.

The court directed the infrastructure company to use words like PACL, Pearl Infrastructure Projects Limited or Pearl Tourism for the event.

Meanwhile, a notice has been issued to PIPL asking it to file a reply by Sep 21 while the FDCI has been asked to file a reply within four weeks.

IANS

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