Thalappakatti Biriyani has alleged that other restaurants were using the 'Thalappakatti' trademark to take advantage of its popularity.

Whose biriyani is it anyway Madras HC rules in favour of original
news Court Saturday, May 04, 2019 - 17:57

In what comes as a relief for the restaurant chain Dindigul Thalappakatti Biriyani, the Madras High Court has granted an interim injunction restraining another restaurant from using the former's trademark. The popular biriyani restaurant from Tamil Nadu had approached the court, claiming that a Sriperumbudur-based restaurant named ‘Star Thalapakattu Biriyani’ was infringing on its ‘celebrated trademark’ and 'trading style.' The restaurant chain stated that they had discovered the usage of their trademark in 2018.

Granting the injunction on Tuesday, Justice S Vaidyanathan said, "Having perused the averments made in these Applications and in the light of the submissions made by the learned counsel for [Dindigul Thalapakatti Biriyani], this Court is convinced that a prima facie case has been made out by [Dindigul Thalapakatti Biriyani], and therefore, [Dindigul Thalapakatti Biriyani], is entitled to the relief sought for in these Applications."

This means that Star Thalapakattu Biriyani has been barred from using "the offending trade mark and trading style Thalapakattu or any other mark or marks which are similar or in any way deceptively similar to or a colourable imitation of the applicants Trade Mark Thalappakatti Biriyani Hotels pending disposal of the suit."

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The restaurant chain said that P Nagasamy Naidu commenced the business in 1957 when the restaurant in Dindigul district was originally known as ‘Thalappakatti Naidu Anandha Vilas Biriyani Hotel’. "Since he sported a thalappa (head gear) on his head, he was referred to as Thalappakatti Naidu and the hotel was named after him as “Thalappakatti Naidu Anandha Vilas Biriyani Hotel,” the petitioner’s affidavit stated.

The restaurant chain argued that the trademark and trading style of “Thalappakatti Biriyani Hotel” is associated exclusively with the original business and that it has enjoyed "extensive patronage by the general public for the products prepared and served" in its restaurants.

In addition to Star Thalapakattu Biriyani against which it had sought an injunction, Dindigul Thalappakatti Biriyani also claimed that there were other "unscrupulous traders wanting to take illegal advantage and enrich themselves at the popularity and reputation" of the restaurant chain. They were resorting to using “Thalappakatti” or “Thalapakattu” for their businesses, the group alleged.

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“...the trademark and trading style “Thalappakatti” come to mean and refer the products and services of the [Dindigul Thalapakatti Biriyani] and their predecessors and except the [Dindigul Thalapakatti Biriyani], no one has any right to use the said trademark and trading style,” the affidavit stated, adding that the chain would face "great loss and hardship" if the injunction was not granted.

The matter has been posted for further hearing along with a civil suit on June 14.

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