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Delhi HC imposes Rs 25 Lakh cost on website for Sholay infringement


Sonal Bhargava | Edited By Prabhat Bandhulya

Case Title: Sholay Media Entertainment & Anr. vs Yogesh Patel and Ors

The Delhi High Court has fined costs and damages of Rs. 25 lakh on a website called 'Sholay.com' for infringing on the trademark of the renowned Amitabh Bachchan film Sholay. The Court ruled that historic film titles are protected under trademark law since they span generations of Indians. The defendant's contention that films cannot be registered under trademark law was rejected by the Court. The titles of landmark films are entitled to trademark protection, opined Justice Pratibha M Singh, because they transcend generations of Indians and their characters, dialogues, settings, and box office collections are legendary. "Certain films cross the boundaries of just being ordinary words and the title of the film ‘SHOLAY’ is one of them. Titles and films are capable of being recognised under trademark law and in India, ‘SHOLAY’ would be a classic example of such a case," the Court opined. Thus, the Court barred the website from using the logo, graphics, or selling the 1975 film's DVD. The use of the mark ‘SHOLAY’ by the defendants was clearly mala fide and dishonest. Therefore the suit is decreed for a sum of 25 Lakh. The Court ruled that the money be given to the plaintiff within 3 months, failing which the plaintiff would be free to get relief for the execution of the decree. The defendants were barred from using any form of the film 'Sholay' on the net or in any other way possible , including as a metatag in source code.

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