Why Delhi Restaurant Can’t Use ‘Burger King’ Name
Burger King Corp. secures a significant trademark win as the Supreme Court bars a Delhi restaurant from using its globally recognised name
The Supreme Court has affirmed that a local Delhi family restaurant cannot use the name 'Burger King', supporting the claim of the international fast-food giant, Burger King Corp.
Burger King Corp., known for its popular whopper burgers, had expressed concerns that the family restaurant's name might confuse customers and weaken their brand's distinct identity. To protect its trademark, the company had earlier approached the Delhi High Court, accusing the family restaurant, named "Burger King New Delhi", of potentially misleading consumers and unlawfully using the trademark.
The Court’s Verdict
The Delhi High Court, in its judgment earlier this year, took the side of Burger King Corp. They highlighted Section 124 of the Trademarks Act, 1999, pointing out that the international brand had consistently used the 'Burger King' trademark without any intention of letting it go. In fact, since introducing its first outlet in India in 2014, Burger King has expanded rapidly, with over 300 locations now serving customers across the country.
Moreover, the court ordered a probe into how the family restaurant came to own a trademark that bears a striking resemblance to the global brand.
The Supreme Court's Stance
When the case reached the Supreme Court, the verdict was clear and firm. Justice Sanjeev Khanna, overseeing the case, reproached the family restaurant for a potential misuse of the law. He highlighted the long-standing history of the Burger King brand, mentioning its use of the trademark since 1950 – a fact well-known globally.
Brands, no matter how big or small, have the right to protect their identity. The name 'Burger King' is synonymous with the international chain, and any attempt to use it without proper authorisation can be seen as an infringement. This case serves as a reminder of the importance of due diligence when selecting a business name and the potential consequences of overlooking existing trademarks.