15 April 1955
Supreme Court


Case number: Appeal (civil) 116 of 1953






DATE OF JUDGMENT: 15/04/1955


CITATION:  1955 AIR  558            1955 SCR  (2) 252

ACT:        The  Trade Marks Act 1940 (Act V of 1940) s. 13-Meaning  and        scope of-Registration subject to disclaimer-S. 76-Appeal  to        the High Court-When can the High Court  interfere-Registrar,        discretion of-Proper approach in such a case.

HEADNOTE:        The  exercise of the power conferred on the Registrar by  s.        13  of the Trade Marks Act is always a matter of  discretion        to  be  exercised,  not  capriciously  or  arbitrarily  but,        according to sound principles laid down for the exercise  of        all judicial discretion.        The existence of the two jurisdictional facts referred to in        clauses (a) and (b) of s. 13 and the finding that the  trade        mark contains parts or matters to the exclusive use of which        the proprietor is not entitled does not conclude the  matter        and  it  must further be established that some  good  ground        exists  for the imposition of a disclaimer and the  tribunal        will exercise the discretionary power for good cause shown,        253.        For  the proper understanding and carrying into  effect  the        provisions of s. 13 it is necessary to bear in mind that the        section  confides  a discretionary power in  the  ’tribunal’        which  by virtue of s. 2(n) means the Registrar or,  as  the        case may be, the Court before which the proceeding concerned        is pending.  Assuming but not deciding that in dealing  with        an  appeal under s. 76 of the Act from the decisions of  the        Registrar  under  s.  13 of the Act the High  Court  is  not        fettered  by reason of the Registrar, on the hearing  before        him, having exercised his discretion and the High Court  may        exercise  its  own  discretion,  just as  it  could  if  the        proceedings  had been taken initially before it, it must  be        remembered  that  it is the Registrar to whom in  the  first        instance  is  committed the discretionary  power.   If  that        authority has exercised his discretion in good faith and not        in  violation of any law such exercise of discretion  should        not  be  interfered  with by the High Court  merely  on  the        ground that, in the opinion of the High Court it could  have        been exercised differently or even that the High Court would        have  exercised it differently, bad the matter been  brought        before  it  in the first instance.  The proper  approach  in



      such  a case is for the High Court to consider  whether  the        Registrar  has really gone so wrong as to make it  necessary        to interfere with his discretion.        The real purpose of requiring a disclaimer is to define  the        rights  of  the  proprietor  under  registration  so  as  to        minimise,   even   if  it  cannot  wholly   eliminate,   the        possibility  of  extravagant and unauthorised  claims  being        made on the score of registration of the trade marks.        The  proviso to s. 13 preserves intact any right  which  the        pro-.  prietor  may otherwise under any other  law  have  in        relation to the mark or any part thereof.  The disclaimer is        only  for the purposes of the Act.  It does not  affect  the        rights  of  the  proprietor except such  -as  arise  out  of        registration.  That is to say, the special advantages  which        the  Act  gives to the proprietor by reason  of  the  regis-        tration  of  his trade mark do not extend to  the  parts  or        matters which he disclaims.        Held, that considering all the circumstances of the  present        case  the  Registrar  had not gone so wrong as  to  make  it        necessary   for  the  High  Court  to  interfere  with   his        discretion.   If  it  were to be regarded  as  a  matter  of        exercise  of  discretion by the High Court as to  whether  a        disclaimer should be imposed or not, it is quite clear  that        the  attention  of  the  High Court  was  not  drawn  to  an        important  consideration, namely, the strong possibility  of        the  respondent  company claiming a statutory right  to  the        word ’Shree’ by virtue of the registration of its trade mark        and  subject  others  to infringement actions  only  on  the        strength  of  the registration and without  proof  of  facts        which  it  would  have otherwise to establish  in  order  to        succeed  in a passing off action or a prosecution under  the        Indian  Penal Code and, therefore, the High Court cannot  be        said to have properly exercised its discretion,        254        Sharp v. Wakefield (L.R. 1891 A.C . 173), Albert Baker  Co.s        Application  and Aerated Bread Company s Application  In  re        (L.R.  [1908] 2 Ch. 86; 25 R.P.C. 513), In the matter of  an        application  by  the  Diamond T. Motor Car  Co.  ([1921]  38        R.P.C. 373 at 379), Eno v. Dun?& (L.R. [1890] 15 A.C. 252; 7        R.P.C. 311), In the matter of an application by F.  Reddaway        &  Co. Ltd. ([1926] 44 R.P.C,. 27), Smokeless  Powder  Co.’s        Trade  In re (L.R. [1892] 1 Ch. 590; 9 R.P.C.  109),  Greers        Ltd.  v.  Pearman and Gorder Ltd. ([1922]  39  R.P.C.  409),        Cadbury Brothers’ Application In re (L.R. [1915] 2 Ch.  307;        32 R.P.C. 456), De Cordova and others v. Vick Chemical  Coy.        ([1951]  68  R.P.C. 103), Pinto v. Badman  (8  R.P.C.  181),        Apollinaris  Company’s Trade Marks (L.R. [1891] 2  Ch.  186)        and Clement & Cie In re (L . R. [1900] 1 Ch. 114),  referred        to.

JUDGMENT:        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal No. 116 of 1953.        Appeal  from  the Judgment and Order dated the 23rd  day  of        August  1951 of the High Court of Judicature at Calcutta  in        Appeal  No. 112 of 1950 arising out of the order  dated  the        24th  day of March 1950 of the Registrar of Trade  Marks  in        the matter of Registered Trade Mark No. 3815.        C.   K.  Daphtary,  Solicitor-General  for  India  (K.    S.        Shavakasha and R. H. Dhebar, with him) for the appellant.        S.   C.  Isaacs,  (P.   K. Ghosh, with  him)  for  the  res-        pondents.        1955.  April 15.  The Judgment of the Court was delivered by        DAS  J.-This  is  an  appeal from  the  judgment  and  order



      pronounced  on the 23rd August 1951 by a Division  Bench  of        the  High  Court  at  Calcutta in Appeal  No.  112  of  1950        reversing the decision of the Registrar of Trade Marks dated        the  24th March, 1950 whereby he had rectified the  register        by  inserting a disclaimer of the word "Shree" forming  part        of the respondent company’s registered trade mark No. 3815.        The  material  facts are as follows: In the  year  1897  one        Durga  Charan Rakhit (since deceased) adopted as  his  trade        mark  in respect of the ghee produced and marketed by him  a        device  which, with some slight modification not  materially        altering its essential                                    255        features, was, on the application of the respondent company,        registered as its trade mark No. 3815.  That mark was and is        a  device consisting of the word "Shree" written on the  top        in  bold  Bengali character, having below it  an  ornamental        figure with the word "Shree" written in the centre in  small        Deva Nagri character, the word "TRADE" written in English in        an  inclined manner on the left hand side of the  ornamental        figure and the word "MARK" written in English in an inclined        manner  on the right hand side of the ornamental figure  and        the words "Shree Durga Charan Rakhit" written at the  bottom        in  Bengali characters.  The ornamental figure  referred  to        above consists of a triangle over which is another  inverted        triangle  and in the centre the word "Shree’, in small  Deva        Nagri  character as mentioned above, the whole of  the  said        ornamental  figure being enclosed in a circle outside  which        are twelve ornamental petals.  In the affidavit affirmed  by        Malli Nath Rakhit, a director of the respondent company  and        filed  in these proceedings, this mark has  throughout  been        referred to as "the said mark SREE".  The said Durga  Charan        Rakhit  having subsequently been adjudged insolvent all  his        properties  including the goodwill of his ghee business  and        the  said mark vested in the Official Assignee of  Calcutta.        On  the 15th January 1915 the goodwill of the said  business        including the said mark was sold by the Official Assignee by        public auction and one Hem Dev Konch, a minor, was  declared        as  the highest bidder and purchaser.  A notice of the  said        sale was advertised in the Calcutta Exchange Gazette on  the        25th  January  1915 by an attorney acting on behalf  of  the        purchaser.   On  the  27th January 1915 the  said  sale  was        confirmed  by a Deed of assignment executed by the  Official        Assignee.   On  the 22nd August 1917  Haripriya  Konch,  the        father  and natural guardian of the minor purchaser,  acting        as  such and on behalf of the minor, conveyed to  one  Ashok        Chandra  Rakhit,  son of the said Durga Charan  Rakhit,  the        goodwill  of  the business including the  right,  title  and        interest in the said mark and the said Ashok Chandra  Rakhit        carried on the said business        256        and  marketed  ghee  tinder  the said  mark.   On  the  15th        September 1926 the said Ashok Chandra Rakhit caused the fact        of  his ownership of the said mark to be advertised  in  the        Calcutta  Exchange  Gazette and on the  22nd  December  1926        caused to be registered with the Registrar of Assurances  of        Calcutta  a declaration of his ownership of the  said  mark.        In 1932 the respondent company was incorporated as a private        limited company under the Indian Companies Act, 1913 and the        said Ashok Chandra Rakhit assigned the goodwill of his  said        business and his right, title and interest in the said  mark        to the respondent company.  In 1933 the respondent company’s        said mark was registered in the Trade Mark Registry at Hong-        Kong  under  the provisions of, the  Hong-Kong  Trade  Marks        Ordinance,  1909  and  the fact  of  such  registration  was        published in the Straits Settlements Government Gazette.  In



      1934  two  persons, Rajendra Prasad and Dilliram,  were,  on        complaint,  made  on  behalf  of  the  respondent   company,        convicted  by  the Chief Presidency Magistrate  of  Calcutta        under  section  486, Indian Penal Code, for  infringing  the        said  mark and such conviction was upheld by the Calcutta  -        High  Court.   In 1935 one Chiranjilal Sharma was,  on  like        complaint, convicted by the Chief Presidency Magistrate  for        infringement of the said mark.  The volume of the respondent        company’s business in ghee done under the said mark is  said        to  be considerable, the annual turn over varying  from  Rs.        10,00,000/-  to  Rs.  15,00,000/-, and the  annual  cost  of        advertisement  being anything between Rs. 10,000/-  and  Rs.        39,000/-.   It  is also said that the ghee marketed  by  the        respondent company and its predecessors is well known by the        said mark and is always asked for under the name "Shree".             The  Indian Trade Marks Act, 1940 having  been  brought        into force in 1942 the respondent company on the 21st August        1942  filed an application for the registration of its  said        mark  under the Act.  By his letter dated the 29th  November        1943   the  Registrar  proposed  that  there  should  be   a        disclaimer of the word "shree" The respondent company by its                                    257        agents’ letter dated the 15th February 1944 intimated to the        Registrar  that, it could not agree to the proposal as  "the        trade  mark Shree is very important in the device" and  "the        ghee  is commonly designated by the trade mark Shree".   The        respondent  company also submitted an affidavit affirmed  by        one Bidyut Bikash Rakshit, a director of the respondent com-        pany, in support of its objection.  The Registrar not having        then  pressed  his proposal for  disclaimer  the  respondent        company’s  said mark was duly registered as trade  mark  No.        3815.        It  appears that subsequently the Registrar found  that  the        word "Shree" was used by Hindus as an auspicious symbol  and        placed even on letter heads and that consequently it was not        adapted  to distinguish within the meaning of the  Act.   In        course of time, therefore, a practice became established  in        the  Registry  whereby the word "Shree" was  either  refused        registration as a trade mark or a disclaimer was enforced if        it were made a part of a trade mark.  So inflexible bad been        this  practice that barring this particular trade  mark  No.        3815  there  was  no other trade mark  containing  the  word        "Shree"  which had been registered without a  disclaimer  of        the word "Shree".  Naturally this circumstance was bound  to        be  regarded  as an invidious  discrimination  and,  indeed,        pointed reference is said to have been made to it and it was        suggested  that  the Registry should  deal  impartially  and        uniformly  with  all  applications in  matters  relating  to        practice.   This aspect of the matter having  ’been  pressed        upon the Registrar he took steps under section 46(4) of  the        Trade  Marks  Act, 1940 and on the 8th March 1947  issued  a        notice calling upon the respondent company to show cause why        the  register  should not be rectified by  entering  a  dis-        claimer  of  the  exclusive  right in  regard  to  the  word        "Shree".   The respondent company showed cause by filing  an        affidavit  affirmed by Malli Nath Rakhit to which  reference        has  been  made.   After hearing  learned  counsel  for  the        respondent company the Registrar came to the conclusion that        the word "Shree" was        33        258        not  adapted to distinguish and, for reasons stated  in  his        judgment   delivered  on  the  24th  March  1950,   directed        rectification  of the register by inserting a disclaimer  of        the word "Shree" in the following terms:



      "Registration of this Trade Mark shall give no right to  the        exclusive use of the word ’Shree"’.        Feeling  aggrieved by the aforesaid decision the  respondent        company  preferred an appeal to the High Court  at  Calcutta        under  section 76 of the Act.  The High Court also took  the        view that "Shree" was a word which had numerous meanings and        that  it would be impossible for any trader to contend  that        he  had an exclusive right to the use of ’Such a word.   But        the  High  Court went on to hold that there  was  no  ground        whatsoever  for  the  order made by  the  Registrar  as  the        respondent  company had never claimed that it had any  right        to  the exclusive use of the word "Shree".  In  the  result,        the High Court allowed the appeal and set aside the order of        the Registrar rectifying the register.  Being of the opinion        that the point involved was a novel one in this country  and        was  of  importance  and would affect  the-attitude  of  the        Registrar in future cases, the High Court certified that  it        was  a  fit  case for appeal to  this  Court  under  Article        133(1)(c) of the Constitution.  Hence the present appeal  by        the Registrar.        The  order of rectification of the register by  inserting  a        disclaimer  was made by the Registrar under section 13  read        with section 46(4) of the Trade Marks Act, 1940.  Section 13        runs as follows:        "13.   Registration subject to disclaimer:-If a  trade  mark        contains-        (a)any part not separately registered as a trade mark in the        name of the proprietor, or for the separate registration  of        which no application has been made, or        (b)any  matter common to the trade, or otherwise of  a  non-        distinctive character,        the  tribunal, in deciding whether the trade mark  shall  be        entered  or shall remain on the register, may require, as  a        condition of its being on the register, that                                    259        the  proprietor  shall  either disclaim  any  right  to  the        exclusive use of such part or of all or any portion of  such        matter,  as the case may be, to the exclusive use  of  which        the  tribunal  holds him not to be entitled,  or  make  such        other disclaimer as the tribunal may consider necessary  for        the  purpose of defining the rights of the proprietor  under        the registration:        Provided  that no disclaimer shall affect any rights of  the        proprietor  of a trade mark except such as arise out of  the        registration  of  the  trade mark in respect  of  which  the        disclaimer is made".        At  the  outset  it will be noticed that the  power  of  the        tribunal  to  require a disclaimer is conditioned  and  made        dependent upon the existence of one of two things which  are        set  out in clauses (a) and (b) and which have  been  called        the  jurisdictional facts.  It is only on the  establishment        of one of the two jurisdictional facts that the  Registrar’s        jurisdiction  regarding imposition of a  disclaimer  arises.        Before, however, he may exercise his discretion he must find        and  hold  that there are parts or matters included  in  the        trade  mark to the exclusive use of which the proprietor  is        not entitled and it is only after this finding is arrived at        that   the  Registrar  becomes  entitled  to  exercise   his        discretion.   In course of the argument it was at  one  time        contended  that  upon  the establishment  of  the  requisite        jurisdictional fact and upon the finding that the proprietor        was not entitled to the exclusive use of any particular part        or  matter contained in the trade mark the Registrar  became        entitled, without anything more, to require a disclaimer  of        that  part or matter.  This extreme position,  however,  was



      not maintained in the end and it was conceded, as indeed  it        had  to be, that the exercise of the power conferred on  the        Registrar  by  this  section always  remained  a  matter  of        discretion to be exercised, not capriciously or  arbitrarily        but,  according  to  sound  principles  laid  down  for  the        exercise  of all judicial discretion. (See the  observations        of Lord Halsbury, L. C., in Sharp v.    Wakefield(1).     As        the law of Trade Marks adopted  in our Act merely reproduces        the English Law with        (1) L.R. 1891 A.C. 173 at p. 179.        260        only  slight  modifications,  a reference  to  the  judicial        decisions on the corresponding section of the English Act is        apposite and must be helpful.  Section 15 of the English Act        of  1905 which later on was reproduced in section 14 of  the        English Act of 1938 and which corresponds to our section 13,        was  considered  by  the High Court in . England  in  In  re        Albert  Baker  Co.’s  Application and In  re  Aerated  Bread        Company’s Application(1) which is commonly called the A.B.C.        case. In that case Eve, J. found on the evidence that Albert        Baker Company were widely known as "A.B.C." or "A.B. &  Co."        but  that the letters "A.B.C." did not exclusively  indicate        their goods and that those letters being common to the trade        they  were  not  entitled  to the  exclusive  use  of  those        letters.   Nevertheless the learned Judge did not hold  that        that  finding alone concluded the matter.  Said the  learned        Judge:        "The first observation which it occurs to me to make is that        the  object of the Legislature was to relieve  traders  from        the  necessity of disclaiming, and I think it  follows  from        this  that the condition is one for the imposition of  which        some  good  reason ought to be established rather  than  one        which  ought to be imposed, unless some good reason  to  the        contrary  is made out.  This conclusion is, I think,  forti-        fied  by the frame of the section, which is in  an  enabling        form empowering the tribunal to impose the conditions  power        which, I conclude, the tribunal would only exercise for good        cause shewn".        It  follows  from  what  has  been  stated  above  that  the        existence of one of the two jurisdictional facts referred to        in  clauses (a) and (b) of section 13 and the  finding  that        the  trade mark contains parts or matters to  the  exclusive        use  of  which  the  proprietor is  not  entitled  does  not        conclude the matter and it must further be established  that        some  good reason exists for the imposition of a  disclaimer        and the tribunal will only exercise the discretionary  power        for good cause shown.        (1)  L.R. [1908] 2 Ch. 86; 25 R.P.C. 513,                                    261        The  second thing to be borne in mind, if the provisions  of        section  13 are to be properly understood and  carried  into        effect,  is that the section confides a discretionary  power        in  the "tribunal" which, by virtue of section  2(n),  means        the Registrar or, as the case may be, the Court before which        the proceeding concerned is pending.  An application for the        rectification  of the register may, under  sub-sections  (1)        and  (2) of section 46, be made either to the  Registrar  or        the  High Court and sub-section (4) of that  section,  under        which   the  present  proceedings  were  initiated  by   the        Registrar, authorises both the High Court and the  Registrar        to  take  proceedings suo motu.  In view of  the  fact  that        discretion is given also to the High Court under section  13        a question may be raised as to whether the observations made        by P. O. Lawrence, J. in In the matter of an application  by        the Diamond T. Motor Car Co.(1) namely, that in dealing with



      an appeal from the Registrar’s decision under section 8  (2)        of the English Act of 1919 the High Court is not fettered by        reason  of  the Registrar on the hearing before  him  having        exercised  his discretion, apply to our High  Court  hearing        appeals  under section 76 of our Act from decisions  of  the        Registrar  given under section 13 of our Act and whether  in        that   situation  our  High  Court  may  exercise  its   own        discretion just as it could if the proceedings had initially        been taken before it.  Assuming, but without deciding,  that        they do apply, it must, nevertheless, be remembered,  adapt-        ing  the language of Lord Macnaghten in Eno v. Dunn(1)  that        it  is  the  Registrar "to whom in  the  first  instance  is        committed  the discretionary power".  If that authority  has        exercised his discretion in good faith and not in  violation        of  any  law  such  exercise of  discretion  should  not  be        interfered  -with  by the High Court merely  on  the  ground        that,  in the opinion of the High Court, it could have  been        exercised differently or even that the High Court would have        exercised it differently, had the matter been brought before        it in the first instance.  The proper approach in        (1)  [1921] 38 R.P.C. 373 at p. 879.        (2)  L.R.  [1890]15 A.C. 252 at p. 263: 7 R.P.C. 311  at  p.        318,        262        such  a case is for the High Court to consider, as  said  by        Lord  Dunedin  in  In the matter of  an  application  by  F.        Reddaway  & Co. Ltd.(1), "whether the Registrar  had  really        gone so wrong as to make it necessary to interfere with  his        discretion".        The  third thing to note is that the avowed purpose  of  the        section  is  not to confer any direct benefit on  the  rival        traders  or the general public but to define the  rights  of        the proprietor under the registration.  The registration  of        a   trade  mark  confers  substantial  advantages   on   its        proprietor as will appear from the sections grouped together        in  Chapter IV under the beading "Effect  of  Registration".        It is, however, a notorious fact that there is a tendency on        the  part of some proprietors to get the operation of  their        trade  marks  expanded beyond their legitimate  bounds.   An        illustration of an attempt of this kind is to be found in In        re  Smokeless  Powder Co.’s Trade Mark(1).   Temptation  has        even  led some proprietors to make an exaggerated  claim  to        the  exclusive  use of parts or matters contained  in  their        trade  marks  in spite of the fact that they  had  expressly        disclaimed  the  exclusive use of those  parts  or  matters.        Reference  may be made to Greers Ltd. v. Pearman and  Corder        Ltd.(1)  commonly  called  the  "Banquet"  case.   The  real        purpose of requiring a disclaimer is to define the rights of        the  proprietor  under the registration so as  to  minimise,        even  if  it  cannot wholly eliminate,  the  possibility  of        extravagant and unauthorised claims being made on the  score        of registration of the trade marks.        The  last  feature  of the section  is  its  proviso.   That        proviso preserves intact any right which the proprietor  may        otherwise  under any other law have in relation to the  mark        or  any  part  thereof.   The disclaimer  is  only  for  the        purposes  of the Act.  It does not affect the rights of  the        proprietor  except such as arise out of registration.   That        is to say, the special advantages which the Act gives to the        proprietor  by reason of the registration of his trade  mark        do not extend to the        (1)  [1926] 44 R.P.C. 27 at p. 36.        (2)  L.R. [1892] 1 Ch. 590; 9 R.P.C. 109.        (3)  [1922] 39 R.p.C. 406,                                    263



      parts  or  matters  which  he  disclaims.   In  short,   the        disclaimed parts or matters are not within the protection of        the statute.  That circumstance, however, does not mean that        the proprietor’s rights, if any, with respect to those parts        or  matters would not be protected otherwise than under  the        Act.  If the proprietor has acquired any right by long  user        of those parts or matters in connection with goods  manufac-        tured or sold by him or otherwise in relation to his  trade,        he  may,  on  proof  of  the  necessary  facts,  prevent  an        infringement  of  his rights by a passing off  action  or  a        prosecution  under the Indian Penal Code.   Disclaimer  does        not affect those rights in any way.        Keeping,  then, in view the meaning and scope of section  13        of  our Trade Marks Act, 1940 and its underlying purpose  as        discussed  above  we  proceed to  consider  whether  in  the        circumstances   of  the  present  case  the  Registrar   had        exercised  his  discretion  properly  in  inserting  in  the        register a disclaimer of the word "Shree".  It has not  been        disputed that the respondent company’s registered trade mark        No. 3815 is a distinctive device properly registrable  under        section  6 of the Act.  It is also a fact that it  contains,        as  its prominent part, the word "Shree" which is not  sepa-        rately  registered  as  a  trade mark in  the  name  of  the        respondent company and, indeed, no application had been made        by  it  for the separate registration of that  word.   There        can,  therefore,  be  no doubt as to the  existence  of  the        jurisdictional  fact  referred  to in  clause  (a)  of  that        section.   Further,  the  Registrar found  as  a  fact,  for        reasons stated by him, that the word "Shree" was not adapted        to  distinguish, which means that it did not pass  the  test        for registrability laid down in section 6 and in  particular        in   sub-section   (3)  thereof.   The   High   Court   also        unequivocally took the view that "Shree" is a word which had        numerous  meanings and that it would be impossible  for  any        trader to contend that he had an exclusive right to the  use        of such a word.  It, therefore, follows that the  respondent        company’s trade mark was concurrently held to have contained        matters of a non-distinctive character and consequently  the        second juris-        264        dictional  fact was also present in this case.   It,  never-        theless, appeared to the High Court that there was no ground        whatsoever  for the order made by the Registrar.   The  High        Court read the decision of the Registrar as proceeding  only        on what was described as an inflexible practice  established        in the Registry whereby the word "Shree" was either  refused        registration as a trade mark or a disclaimer was enforced if        it  was  a part of a trade mark and in this  view  the  case        appeared to the High Court to be indistinguishable from  the        case of In re Cadbury Brothers’ Application(1).        That case was decided under section 9 of the English Act  of        1905.   Clause  (5)  of  section 9  was  then  expressed  in        language  which  is somewhat different from  clause  (5)  of        section 6 of our Act.  Under section 9(5) of the English Act        of  1905 a name, signature or word or words  otherwise  than        such  as  fell  within  the  description  in  the  preceding        paragraphs  I  to 4 could not, except by the  order  of  the        Board  of  Trade or by the Court, be  deemed  a  distinctive        mark.   ’Tudor’ being a surname did not fall  within  clause        (4) of that English Act and, therefore, the Registrar had no        power to register it as a distinctive mark under clause (5).        Such  being the position, the then Registrar of Trade  Marks        in England adopted a practice that wherever a mark contained        2a  name which did not come within clause (4) and  which  he        had  no power to register under clause (5), there must be  a



      disclaimer of that word without going into any investigation        as  to  its  distinctiveness.  The Registrar  in  that  case        declined  to register the mark only because it  contained  a        name  which  could  not be registered  alone  by  him  under        section  9(5),  without  deciding whether that  word  was  a        matter  of  a distinctive or non-distinctive  character,  in        pursuance  of the inflexible practice that be  had  adopted,        namely,  of  refusing  registration  in  the  absence  of  a        disclaimer.  This decision of the Registrar was overruled by        Sargant, J. The learned Judge, on the materials before  him,        came to the conclusion that the word ’Tudor’ was not  common        to the trade        (1)  L.R. [1915] 2 Ch. 307; 32 R.P.C. 456.                                    265        and  that the word as it had been used by the applicants  in        relation  to chocolates was not a matter of  non-distinctive        character   and   that   it   had   denoted   their   goods.        Consequently,  the jurisdiction to impose a  disclaimer  did        not arise under clause (b) of section 15 of the English  Act        of  1905.   The jurisdiction, if at all,  could,  therefore,        arise  only  under clause (a), namely, that the  trade  mark        contained parts not separately registered by the  proprietor        as trade marks.  Having come to the conclusion that the word        ’Tudor’ was a matter of distinctive character as it  denoted        the  goods of the applicant’s manufacture, the  Court  might        have disposed of the case on the short ground that, on  that        finding, the applicant was entitled to the exclusive use  of        that name in connection with chocolates and like goods  and,        therefore,  no question of requiring a disclaimer could,  in        that situation, arise at all.  Treating the matter, however,        as  still one of discretion, the learned Judge had  to  take        into  account  the  commercial case made on  behalf  of  the        applicants,  namely,  that they would,  by  disclaiming  any        right to the exclusive use of the word ’Tudor’,  practically        be  inviting the public to disregard such common law  rights        as they had acquired to the use of the name ’Tudor’ and held        that  to impose a disclaimer of that word, in spite  of  the        finding  as to its distinctiveness in relation to the  goods        of the applicants, would be to drive the applicants to  take        innumerable passing off actions.        The  facts  of  that  case  appears  to  us  to  be  clearly        distinguishable from those of the case now before us.   Here        the  concurrent finding of the Registrar and the High  Court        is  that the word "Shree" is not adapted to distinguish  and        is  not a word to the exclusive use of which any trader  may        claim   the  right.   In  the  face  of  this  finding   the        consideration of the possibility that a disclaimer may drive        the respondent company to a crop of passing off actions  was        not  so relevant or urgent as it was in the Tudor case.   In        view  of  the  finding in the present  case  the  respondent        company  could  well  be left, as it was in  fact  left,  to        protect its        34        266        rights  by  other proceedings, e.g) passing off  actions  or        prosecutions  which, by reason of the proviso, were open  to        be  taken  by  it, if the necessary facts  to  support  such        proceedings  which  were not before the Registrar  could  be        satisfactorily established.        Further, it is not quite correct to say that the  Registrar,        like  his  English  counterpart,  had  based  his   decision        entirely  on what has been called his  invariable  practice.        It  is no doubt true that the Registrar did, in  this  case,        lay considerable stress on that aspect of the matter and may        even  be said to have somewhat over emphasized the  practice



      of  his  Registry  but it is not correct  to  say  that  his        decision  was entirely founded on that practice alone.   The        materials  before the Registrar, appearing on the  affidavit        filed on behalf of the respondent company, clearly indicated        that the respondent company was claiming a proprietary right        to  the  name "Shree".  Indeed, it called its mark  as  "the        said  mark Shree" throughout the affidavit and claimed  that        the said mark "Shree" was well known in the market and  that        its ghee was asked for and sold under the said mark "Shree".        The two prosecutions launched by it and the other facts men-        tioned  in  the  main  affidavit  and  the  two   supporting        affidavits  of  two  retail dealers and  summarised  at  the        beginning  of  this judgment clearly indicate  that  it  was        claiming the right to the exclusive use of the word  "Shree"        and, indeed, in its agents’ letter of the 15th February 1944        objecting to any disclaimer of that word, it was referred to        "as trade mark Shree" and it was said to be "very  important        in the devise".  In other words, they put forward the  claim        that "Shree" itself was also its trade, mark, apart from the        device  as a whole and that it was an important  feature  of        its  device.  It is, therefore, not at all  surprising  that        learned counsel appearing for the respondent company  before        the  Registrar,  when  asked  as to  how  his  client  could        possibly  be affected by disclaiming the word "Shree",  said        frankly  that  it  was far easier to  be  successful  in  an        infringement  action  than in a passing  off  action.   This        clearly  indicated that the respondent company did not  want        any other                                    267        merchant  to  use  the word "Shree" in  his  trade  mark  in        respect of ghee and that the respondent company thought that        the  registration  of its trade mark with the  word  "Shree"        contained in it would, per se, give it a right also to  that        word  and  that  its intention was  to  launch  infringement        actions  under  the Act against any other trader  who  might        happen  to use the word "Shree" either alone or as  part  of        his trade mark in respect of ghee.  Further, the  Registrar’        may  well have thought that the fact that all other  traders        who  had got their trade marks containing the  word  "Shree"        registered  had  had to submit to a disclaimer of  the  word        "Shree"  whereas  the respondent company had got  its  trade        mark  containing  the  word  "Shree"  registered  without  a        disclaimer  was calculated to cause embarrassment  to  other        traders  and  might  conceivably  encourage  the  respondent        company  to contend that the registration of its trade  mark        by itself and without further evidence gave it a proprietary        right  to the exclusive use of the word "Shree".   The  res-        pondent  company may also find some encouragement  from  the        observations  of Lord Radcliffe in De Cordova and others  v.        Vick Chemical Coy.(1) namely, that if a word forming part of        a mark has come in trade to be used to identify the goods of        the  owner  of the mark, it is an infringement of  the  mark        itself  to use that word as the mark or part of the mark  of        another  trader, for confusion is likely to  result.   These        considerations  may  reasonably have led  the  Registrar  to        require a disclaimer.  None of these considerations arose or        were  adverted  to in the Tudor case and  this  circumstance        quite clearly distinguishes the present case from that case.        It is true that where a distinctive label is registered as a        whole, such registration cannot possibly give any  exclusive        statutory  right to the proprietor of the trade mark to  the        use  of any particular word or name contained therein  apart        from the mark as a whole.  As said by Lord Esher in Pinto v.        Badman(2):        "The truth is that the label does not consist of



      (1)  [1951] 68 R.P.C. 103 at p. 106.        (2)  8 R.P.C. 181 at p. 191.        268        each particular part of it, but consists of the  combination        of them all".        Observations to the same effect will be found also in In  re        Appollinaris  Company’s  Trade  Marks(1),  In  re  Smokeless        Powder  Co.  (supra),  In re Clement and Cie(1)  and  In  re        Albert Baker & Company (supra) and finally in the Tudor case        referred  to  above which was decided by  Sargant,  J.  This        circumstance,  however,  does not necessarily mean  that  in        such  a case disclaimer will always be unnecessary.   It  is        significant  that  one of the facts which give rise  to  the        jurisdiction  of the tribunal to impose disclaimer  is  that        the  trade  mark  contains parts which  are  not  separately        registered.  It is, therefore, clear that the section itself        contemplates  that there may be a disclaimer in  respect  of        parts  contained  in  a trade mark  registered  as  a  whole        although  the registration of the mark as a whole  does  not        confer any statutory right with respect to that part.        As we have already stated the possibility of the  proprietor        attempting to expand the operation of his trade mark  cannot        be ignored or overlooked.  It is a thing which must be taken        into  consideration by the tribunal-be it the  Registrar  or        the  Court-in deciding upon the way it should  exercise  the        discretionary  power  conferred on it.  Reference  has  been        made by the High Court to the observations of Eve, J. in the        A.B.C.  case  referred to above and the  question  has  been        posed  as to whether any good cause had been shown  for  the        necessity  of  disclaimer  in this  case.   The  High  Court        answers  the question immediately by saying that it did  not        think that any cause had been shown beyond the  desirability        of  having  a uniform practice.  This, as  we  have  already        stated,  is not quite correct, for apart from  the  practice        the   Registrar   did   advert  to   the   other   important        consideration,  namely, that on the evidence before him  and        the statement of counsel it was quite clear that the  reason        for  resisting  the disclaimer in this particular  case  was        that the company thought, erroneously no doubt but        (1)  L.R. [1891] 2 Ch. 186.        (2)  L.R. [1900] 1 Ch. 114.                                    269        quite seriously, that the registration of the trade mark  as        a whole would, in the circumstances of this case, give it  a        right  to  the  exclusive  use of the  word  "Shree"  as  if        separately  and by itself it was also its  registered  trade        mark and that it would be easier for it to be successful  in        an infringement action than in a passing off action.  It was        precisely  the  possibility  of  such  an  extravagant   and        untenable claim that called for a disclaimer for the purpose        of  defining the rights of the respondent company under  the        registration.  This aspect of the matter does not appear  to        have been pressed before or adverted to by the High Court.        Considering  all the circumstances discussed above,  we  are        not  of opinion that the Registrar had gone so wrong  as  to        have made it necessary for the High Court to interfere  with        his  discretion.  If it were to be regarded as a  matter  of        exercise  of  discretion by the High Court as to  whether  a        disclaimer should be imposed or not, it is quite clear  that        the  attention  of  the  High Court  was  not  drawn  to  an        important  consideration, namely, the strong possibility  of        the  respondent  company claiming a statutory right  to  the        word "Shree" by virtue of the registration of its trade mark        and  subject  others  to infringement actions  only  on  the        strength  of  the registration and without  proof  of  facts



      which  it  would  have otherwise to establish  in  order  to        succeed  in a passing off action or a prosecution under  the        Indian  Penal Code and, therefore, the High Court cannot  be        said to have properly exercised its discretion.        The  result, therefore, is that this appeal must be  allowed        and the respondent company must pay the appellant’s costs in        this Court and in the High Court.        270