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Yezdi Trademark Order

Khurana and Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys India


Rustom Irani founded Ideal Jawa (India) Ltd. (business) in the late 1960s, which went on to manufacture decades of its success in Mysuru, Bangalore, and register the "Yezdi" trademark for its motorcycles in 1969. Unfortunately, the business was forced to file for bankruptcy in 1991, but it took until 2015 for the company's debts to be paid off. This is implied by the fact that Boman Irani was the subject of an application filed by the Official Liquidator (OL) in 2018, despite the fact that nothing in the facts indicates what occurred in the three years prior. Later, in 2020, Ideal Jawa Employees Association joined the legal dispute and brought the current dispute to a close.

Fans of the Yezdi brand have terrible news from the Karnataka High Court. Yezdi has long been a well-known and recognisable brand in the Indian two-wheeler market. Since the Ideal Jawa India Co. Pvt. Ltd. ceased operations in 1996, there has been a sizable gap in motorcycle manufacture. But in January of this year (2022), Classic Legends Private Limited introduced the Yezdi line of motorbikes to the Indian market, filling that void. However, the Yezdi brand name cannot be used by anyone, per the High Court's order. The business actually has 30 days to discontinue utilising the Yezdi branding. Boman Irani, a real estate developer, is a co-founder of Mahindra & Mahindra's subsidiary Classic Legends Private Limited. Boman Irani and Classic Legends were both given a Rs. 10 lakh fine by the Karnataka High Court for their actions in this matter because the most recent Yezdi motorcycles are offered by this business. The brand name, trademark, and assets are with the Official Liquidator in accordance with the liquidation procedure and cannot be used by Boman Irani, Classic Legends, or any other business in any way, shape, or form. The funds raised from the asset sales will be used to pay the Ideal Jawa Employees Association's outstanding dues.

In a ruling dated December 16, the Karnataka High Court determined that the acquisition was unlawful because the trademark was a component of the company's assets that were being liquidated. The renowned Yezdi motorcycles, having roots in Czechoslovakia, were produced at the Ideal Jawa factory in Mysuru, Karnataka, between 1969 and 1996. Before the introduction of 100 cc motorcycles by Japanese manufacturers, the 150 cc to 250 cc category of motorcycles enjoyed significant popularity.

The Yezdi was produced in numerous iterations by the Ideal Jawa firm, including the Yezdi Classic, Yezdi Roadking, Yezdi Deluxe, Yezdi CL II, Yezdi 175, Yezdi Colt, and Yezdi Monarch. Production ceased at the company in 1996, and in 2001 a wind-up order was issued. Given that the name belonged to the family rather than the company, Boman Irani tried to obtain the rights to the "Yezdi" trademark in 2013.

After hearing rumours that the Yezdi motorcycle brand would be re-launching in 2022, the official liquidator of Ideal Jawa and the employee's organisation filed lawsuits in 2021. Boman Irani contended in the High Court that his father Rustom Irani had registered the Yezdi trademark and that, following his passing, he was the rightful successor to the brand. He asserted that because the business was run by his family, Rustom Irani had granted permission for it to use the brand.

After hearing rumours that the Yezdi motorcycle brand would be re-launching in 2022, the official liquidator of Ideal Jawa and the employee's organisation filed lawsuits in 2021. Boman Irani contended in the High Court that his father Rustom Irani had registered the Yezdi trademark and that, following his passing, he was the rightful successor to the brand. He asserted that because the business was run by his family, Rustom Irani had granted permission for it to use the brand.

According to the High Court's order from December 16, "the number of fan pages that continue to exist on social media sites to this day and the number of people willing to ride the motorbikes and restore them show that people have not allowed the trademark and goodwill of the brand to die but that the universal effort is to resurrect the brand."

"It is evident that it is only such goodwill," the court continued, "that has led Mr. Irani to establish Classic Legends with Mahindra & Mahindra. The entire strategy has been to capitalise on this fantastic legacy to conduct business. "With such a pedigree, starting and developing a new bike with an established name is simple. That is kindness. Certainly, the Company is the owner of such goodwill. Such goodwill endures even after a trademark registration expires, according to the High Court. "A simple commonsense approach in this case will lead to the only conclusion possible," Justice Krishnakumar ruled. "That is that the mark retains a goodwill and reputation in the general public, which is capable of being monetized by the Official Liquidator for the benefit of the creditors, workmen, and shareholders."

The High Court also rejected Classic Legends' claims that it had lost money as a result of the trademark dispute. "Classic Legends has also claimed that it has invested heavily. If it did, it did it totally on its own initiative. It was aware of the proceedings taking place before this Court when it entered into the licence agreement with its shareholder and director, Mr. Irani. It was conscious of the dangers," the court ruled.

Conclusion

The original owner of the "Yezdi" trademark, according to the decision rendered by the High Court of Karnataka, presided over by Justice S.R. Krishna, is Ideal Jawa (India) Ltd, which is still in the liquidation process. The company's trademarks are still under the court's "custodia legis," according to the court, as liquidation procedures have been ongoing since 1991 through the Official Liquidator (OL). All registration certificates and trademarks granted to Boman R. Irani by the Registrar of Trademarks in Mumbai, Delhi, and Ahmedabad have been deemed invalid as a result of this decision. Additionally, the court has directed the Trademark Registration Authority to transfer any trademarks and registrations issued to Ideal Jawa via the OL.

Author: Tanya Saraswat, in case of any queries please contact/write back to us via email to chhavi@khuranaandkhurana.com or at Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorney

Khurana and Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys



About the Firm

Khurana and Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys

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