Bombay High Court Rules that Copyright Registration of
a Label is not Compulsory
The two parties involved include Sanjay Soya Private Limited (SSPL) and Narayani
Trading Company (NTC). Both of them specialize in refined edible oil products.
The dispute between the two arose concerning the use of packaging in their
respective products. The plaintiff, SSPL, had filed a lawsuit against the defendant
NTC in the Bombay High Court, alleging Copyright and Trademark Infringement.
According to the plaintiff, the defendant used a similar trade dress and labeling
for its soya bean oil products.
1. SSPL was incorporated in 2004. It is also the successor of SK Oil Industries.
2. For quite a long period now, it has been specializing in manufacturing and selling
edible oils, which also includes soya bean oil.
3. The label in question was designed by an employee of SK Oil Industries. Under
Section 2(c) of The Copyright Act of 1957, the label is an original artistic work.
When SSPL was incorporated in 2004, SK Oil Industries had assigned it the label’s
4. In May 2007, the label mark ‘SOYA DROP’ was registered. Since then, it has been
continuously used and has even acquired reputation and goodwill in the market.
5. It was in October 2020 when SSPL came to know about NTC’s use of a similar label
and trade dress for its set of soya bean edible oil products. The confusion was
bound to arise as the marks were both conceptually and visually similar. Also,
their use was concerning identical goods.
6. According to SSPL, this practice was dishonest as it could make NTC benefit from
the reputation and goodwill of SSPL’s brand name.
1. As per NTC’s statement, both SSPL and SK Oil Industries couldn’t claim copyright
in the artistic work. It also mentioned that their copyright assignment wasn’t
2. According to NTC, the SSPL label mark was only a registered trademark, and
therefore, it couldn’t be used as an artistic work. It further added t