ITC stated Nestle was passing off its noodle product Maggi noodles with the use of the phrase “Magic Masala”.
This phrase was deceptively similar to ITC’s product Sunfeast Yippee.
The Madras High Court stated that , “the thumb rule under the law is that words or the expression which and are not distinctive are inherently weak and are therefore incapable of being registered or protected.”
Section 9 of the Trademarks Act, which provides that generic names can never be registered.
The High Court observed :
“… the plaintiff (ITC) has used the expression “Magic Masala” in a laudatory manner to praise the “Masala” in the sachet. Laudatory epithet cannot be given monopoly or protection as has been held by Courts… Since it is a laudatory word, it can never be monopolised. “
It was held that neither the plaintiff nor the defendant could hold monopoly over the word “magic” or “magical”.