BMW Group had filed a case of trademark violation against India based DMW electric vehicle maker
Trademark violations involving similar sounding brand names are quite common and we hear new stories almost every year. While many of these never reach the judiciary, there are instances where top brands fight back to claim their rights.
Most recent case involves BMW vs. DMW, the latter being an electric rickshaw manufacturer. As is obvious, DMW sounds deceptively similar to BMW. Irked by the blatant misuse of its brand name, BMW decided to take the matter to court.
BMW had filed a case in Delhi High Court in 2017 against Om Balajee Automobile (India) Private Limited that had registered the DMW brand name. The DMW trademark was registered in 2013. In its argument presented in the court, BMW provided detailed information about its operations.
The German carmaker said that it has a global sales network across 140 countries and assembly plants in 14 countries. In 2016, BMW’s revenue was €94,163 million. The company said that DMW was phonetically similar to BMW and the name was created with the sole purpose of taking undue advantage of BMW brand.
In its defence, Om Balajee Automobile (India) Private Limited said that DMW trademark was registered in 2013 and BMW had filed a case after a gap of four years. However, this argument was rejected by the court. The court said that even if there was delay in filing a case, it does not prevent the plaintiff from getting justice. The court further said that it’s clear that DMW trademark was created to “mislead an average man of ordinary intelligence”.
The court found that use of DMW was adversely impacting BMW’s reputation. The defendant (Om Balajee) was thereupon found prima facie guilty of violating trademark laws. In its order, Delhi High Court has restrained the defendant from using DMW trademark in any manner. Use of any other names deceptively similar to BMW has also been barred by the court.
This case highlights the hard work that top enterprises put in to protect their brand. It may be recalled that this is not the first time BMW is facing such issues. In 2016, BMW had to fight a case against a Chinese company that had registered the ‘BMN’ trademark and used a logo similar to that of BMW.
The case was decided in favour of BMW and the defendant was asked to pay 3 million Yuan ($431,738) as compensation to BMW. A similar case came up in US in 2019 when an entity named BMW Telecommunications Ltd. was alleged to be violating trademark laws. This case was also decided in favour of BMW.