Indiabulls sails into troubled waters

NEW DELHI: Indiabulls Real Estate is entangled in a bitter legal dispute over the use of trademark ‘Central Park’ for a set of residential realty projects in the country, said two persons familiar with the development. Gurgaon-based Sweta Estates has sued the public-listed firm at the Delhi High Court (HC) alleging trademark infringement last month.

This relates to Indiabulls projects under the ‘Indiabulls Real Estate Central Park’ brandname in cities like Hyderabad, Indore, Madurai and Ahmedabad that are up for completion by December 2011.

Neeraj Dhawan, chief financial officer of Sweta Estates, believes that most of its customers are NRIs who may get confused and this may result in revenue loss for the company. In its court filing, Sweta Estates has said it owns and operates the ‘Central Park’ brandname as it got the mark registered in 2005.

The first hearing of the case took place on November 1 following which Indiabulls filed a reply arguing that ‘Central Park’ is a generic term and less of a trademark or a logo, said another person privy to the development. Moreover, since the name ‘Central Park’ has been used along with Indiabulls, the view is that there is no question of similarity.

This is one of the few trademark cases filed in the real estate sector in the country. A Delhi-based lawyer, who specialises in intellectual property cases, said the case is significant for Sweta Estates as they operate only under ‘Central Park’ brandname unlike other builders who use various brands. Sweta Estates runs both commercial and residential projects under the Central Park brandname.

Sweta Estates has also raised objection to another residential project coming up in Gurgaon under the ‘Indiabulls Centrum Park’ brandname. It has said there is deceptive similarity between ‘Centrum Park’ and ‘Central Park’.

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