Monday, November 29, 1999

Court asks Hilton to drop brand; says similar to Hilltone

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New Delhi, June 17 (PTI) Conrad Hilton may have set up the first Hilton Hotel in 1925, but a Rajasthan court has barred the US hotel group with business in 80 countries from operating in India under that brand, holding that it was deceptively similar to Sirohi-based Hilltone Hotel. Additional District Judge Narinder Singh Dadda, Sirohi, restrained the international hospitality group from using any kind of "misleading logo and mark" which has potential to cause confusion among the general public and directed it not to carry on the business of hotel and food items under "such duplicate trademark". The order was passed on a petition from Hotel Hilltone founded in 1973 and based in Sirohi, Rajasthan. The petitioner contended that it was registered under the Companies Act, 1956. The petitioner had sought a direction to restrain New York-based M/S Hilton International Corporation from carrying on business in India by using a "deceptively similar trademark". "The defendant, in any state of India, may not use the registered trademark Hotel Hilltone 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 trade mark," the court said in the order passed in April. Conrad Hilton had bought his first hotel in 1919 and founded the international chain of hotels named Hilton in 1925 in Dallas, Texas. Hilton has a joint venture in India with DLF. It has three hotel properties, including two in Delhi. "The defendants (Hilton International Corporation and Hilton International) are restrained by permanent injunction that they not give the threat to the plaintiff to use the name of Hotel Hilltone and the defendant may not create any obstruction of any kind in the manufacturing and sale of the food items to be manufactured by the plaintiff under the registered trademark," the order said. The court has rejected the contention of Hilton International that the domestic firm has adopted its name and trademark for deriving benefits of its fame and reputation. PTI KRS AHA RKS KM.

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