Ranjan Narula Associates
                                                               September, 2014

"All-round protection" is not descriptive for toothpaste
In Procter & Gamble (P&G) Vs. Anchor Health & Beauty care Pvt. Ltd. (Anchor)*, the two judge bench (Division Bench) of the Delhi High court dismissed an appeal filed by the P&G challenging the interim injunction order passed by the Single judge of the same Court. The single judge had restrained P&G from using the mark ALLROUNDER / ALL-ROUND PROTECTION for toothpaste. The P&G's use of ORAL-B ALLROUND PROTECTION was held to be deceptively similar to Anchor's registered mark ALL ROUND. P&G's argument that mark was descriptive of dental products was rejected.

The court gave following reasons when rejecting P&G's appeal
  1. No objection was raised by the Trade mark office to the trademark "ALLROUND" of Anchor at the time of seeking registration (in relation to toothpaste), that is mark was devoid of any distinctive character or was not capable of distinguishing the said goods or was descriptive;

  2. The use by P&G of the expression "ALLROUND PROTECTION" in its advertisements and on its product is as a slogan or a tagline. Such slogans/taglines/expressions are marketing and communication tools par excellence and directly impacts the consumers by encouraging them to choose certain goods or services over others. The repeated use of slogans/taglines/expressions eventually comes to identify the brand and contribute to the overall brand equity.

  3. The words "ALLROUND PROTECTION" in relation to the toothpaste are not descriptive generally. They show the peculiar quality, features/advantages in the product of the Anchor which may not be present in the same product of others.

  4. The contention of P&G that they mistakenly applied for registration of "ALLROUNDER" and "ALL-AROUND PROTECTION" and are willing to surrender the same did not find favour. The Court took the view that the said statement came to be made only during the hearing; P&G, neither in their written statement in the suit nor in this appeal have pleaded on oath that it was a mistake or the circumstance in which the said mistake came to be made and no explanation has been offered.

* Procter & Gamble Manufacturing (Tianjin) Co. Ltd. & Ors. v. Anchor Health & Beauty Care Pvt. Ltd.; FAO(OS) No. 241 of 2014, Delhi High Court
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