Delhi HC to Hear Asus' Plea Against Zenfone Trademark Injunction on July 10
The Delhi High Court has issued an interim injunction on Asus Technologies Pvt Ltd., which prevents the company from selling, offering and advertising any device bearing Zen, Zenfone and any other name related to these terms. The court ruling came into effect on May 29, and remains effective for eight weeks until July 24. No official statement from Asus has been issued till now, and a company representative could not be reached for a comment at the time of publishing.
The update comes under grounds of a copyright infringement appeal made by Telecare Network, which claimed that Asus had infringed upon the former's trademarked brands Zen and Zenmobile, thereby causing commercial and financial losses. Telecare argued that it has been the registered proprietor and beneficiary of the Zen and Zenmobile trademarks under the Trade Marks Act, 1999, and has been using the brands continuously for selling feature phones, smartphones, tablets and related accessories, since 2008.
Asus, meanwhile, markets and sells its phones and other products under similar trade name, alongside its smartphones being priced similarly to Telecare's products. As a result, it may cause commercial and financial loss to Telecare, leaving users confused about the company that manufactured the products, and according to Telecare, has been adopted by Asus as a "mala fide intent to ride upon its goodwill and reputation".
Asus argued that its usage of the 'Zen' mark is in line with its chief execute Jonney Shih's philosophical belief, and as such, is a generic term in regards to the followers of Buddhism. It also supplied proof of multiple other brands using various iterations of the 'Zen' trademark, and emphasised that there was no scope of confusion as the name 'Zenfone' was always firmly associated with the Asus brand.
However, the Court's ruling was based on the fact that Asus had only filed for its trademark in 2014, prior to which Telecare Network was already using the trademark 'Zenmobile' -- deemed as a very similar variation of the Zenfone brand. Furthermore, the court stated that Asus' argument of the 'Zen' word being generic in religious principles does not qualify on ground of smartphones, where it can be referred to as a specific entity. It also contradicts Asus' own trademark application of the Zenfone brand.
As a result, Asus has been issued an injunction against the sale of any product related to Zen, Zenfone or any variation of the brand, which may also cover its ZenBook line of ultrabooks, in India. Company representatives contacted by News18 could not immediately confirm if Asus will refrain from sale of its devices until the next hearing, which is scheduled for July 10.