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Delhi HC halts release of film 'Ajinomoto' on lawsuit by MSG manufacturer

Delhi HC halts release of film 'Ajinomoto' on lawsuit by MSG manufacturer

Published:07 December 2022

The Delhi High Court has put on hold the release of a Tamil film titled “Ajinomoto” following a lawsuit for trademark infringement by a manufacturer of monosodium glutamate seasoning in Japan.

New Delhi | The Delhi High Court has put on hold the release of a Tamil film titled “Ajinomoto” following a lawsuit for trademark infringement by a manufacturer of monosodium glutamate seasoning in Japan.
Justice Sanjeev Narula, in a recent interim order, said “Ajinomoto” or any film bearing an identical or deceptively similar name shall not be released in any format, including cinema hall or OTT platforms.
The court said if an ex-parte injunction is not granted to Ajinomoto Co Inc, it shall suffer irreparable loss.
“Accordingly, till the next date of hearing, Defendants shall not release the film under the title “AJINOMOTO” or any film bearing an identical or deceptively similar title/ name in any format i.e., cinema hall release, DVD/VCD release, release through OTT platforms, etc. List before the Court on 12th December, 2022,” the court ordered.
The court issued summons to Dattatrey Studios and another defendant and asked them to file a written statement to the lawsuit.
The plaintiff, represented by senior advocate Sudhir Chandra and lawyer Pravin Anand, said its grievance was in relation to an upcoming movie using its trademark “Ajinomoto”.
He argued that the title not only infringed its trademark rights, as the use was without authorisation, but was also disparaging and defaming as Mathiraj, the second defendant, made false public statements in relation to the mark in the context of the film.
The lawsuit said it was blatantly clear that the storyline of the film was conceived and fashioned metaphorically around the cooking ingredient which directly links to the plaintiff and any negative portrayal was bound to severely prejudice the plaintiff's reputation in the market in respect of its products.
The plaintiff company said it was the largest seasoning manufacturer in Japan, which adopted and registered the trademark “Ajinomoto” for monosodium glutamate (MSG) and marketed it worldwide.
The court was informed the word was coined by the plaintiff's predecessor-in-title as a unique combination of words meaning “Essence of Taste” in Japanese and it is a household name in the Indian market.
"Ajinomoto" is a Tamil language crime thriller written and directed by Mathiraj starring R S Karthik in the lead role.


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