Los Angeles – Hilton International, owner of the international chain of Hilton Hotels and Resorts, has lost a trademark infringement case in the Supreme Court, losing the exclusive right to operate under the ‘Hilton’ trademark in India.
The Court ruled that ‘Hiltone’, the Rajasthan, India-based hotel group should have exclusive rights to the trademark because it had been established and registered earlier than ‘Hilton.’ The Rajasthan group will be allowed to continue using its trademark. Hilton International had filed a special leave petition challenging the Rajasthan High Court’s decision but the petition was denied.
“In going through the impugned order, we find that the petitioners (Hilton International) have been adequately protected by the High Court. We, therefore, see no reason to interfere in the matter,” stated justices Aftab Alam and R.M. Lodha as the case was dismissed. The Indian Hiltone group received an injunction from a district court in Sirohi after claiming that Hilton International was attempting to operate its hotel group in India under a “deceptively similar name.” The famous hotel group, founded by late billionaire Conrad Hilton, first ventured into the Indian market in 2007 in association with DLF Ltd..
An extract of the April 2010 district court injunction reads: “The defendant (Hilton International) in any state of India, may not use the registered trademark ‘Hotel Hiltone’ of the plaintiff or any kind of sabotage in it by using any kind of misleading logo and mark. It may not use and enjoy by causing confusion of being plaintiff’s hotel and in collaboration with any other Indian establishment may not carry on business of hotels and food items under such duplicate trademark.”
“The Supreme Court has adequately safeguarded our rights,” said Pratibha Singh, counsel for the Hiltone group, in response to the High Court’s decision to uphold the order of the district court.
No comment was made available by Hilton International.