New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday heard a special leave petition filed by the Financial Times Ltd last week seeking an adjournment of the appeal proceedings in the Karnataka high court in connection with its ongoing trademark battle with Times Publishing House, a unit of Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd (BCCL).
The apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir granted adjournment of proceedings in the high court.
This was the first time that the Supreme Court heard the matter related to the long-running stand-off between the UK publisher Pearson group that publishes the Financial Times newspaper and the Indian media firm that publishes The Times of India and The Economic Times, among other titles.
A spokesperson for the Pearson group said Tuesday’s order is related to a ruling by the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB), India’s top IP court, in April 2012. That ruling cancelled the trademarks of both Times Publishing House and Financial Times.
Both parties had appealed the IPAB order in a court in Delhi, which will be heard in April.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard the special leave petition filed by the Financial Times to ensure that until the appeal is heard, and the validity of each party’s trademark determined, a related trademark appeal before the high court in Bangalore is stayed.
In Pearson’s view, this decision is significant because it recognizes the necessity of the trademark rights to the title Financial Times being determined prior to other proceedings in this long-running legal battle, “and in that regard is viewed as a positive development for the Financial Times before India’s foremost court,” a company spokesperson said.
BCCL’s chief executive Ravi Dhariwal did not respond to a phone call and a text message.