A few weeks ago, the Pakistani Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Qadiani company Shezan International (aka Shezan services)in a trademark dispute which began in 1988. This was a case of Shezan Services (Pvt) Ltd vs. Shezan Bakers and Confectioners (Pvt) Ltd — owners of a chain of restaurants and bakeries in Lahore. Shahnawaz Limited was the proprietor of the label ‘Shezan’ and the first to have registered the name on Sept 30, 1958 — 30 years before the respondent applied for registration, the order said. Shezan International was incorporated on May 13, 1964; conceived as a joint venture by the Shahnawaz Group, Pakistan and Alliance Industrial Development Corporation, United States in 1964. Via Tahrik e Jadeed, there were some other Ahmadi companies, see here. It seems that the Ahmadiyya movement might have funded Shezan from its inception and a layman Qadiani was given charge. This was also discussed on twitter.
We have to ask, where is the persecution? Ahmadi’s continue to live in Rabwah under lease and continue to run their businesses.
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has ruled in favour of Shezan Services, makers of the popular jams and jellies carrying the name, in a trademark dispute which began in 1988 after another firm applied for permission to use the brand for its bakery products.
A two-judge bench, consisting of Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Yahya Afridi, on Friday disposed of an appeal moved by Shezan Services (Pvt) Ltd against Shezan Bakers and Confectioners (Pvt) Ltd — owners of a chain of restaurants and bakeries in Lahore.
The apex court had, on Feb 10, reserved its ruling on a petition brought by Shezan Services, which was represented by Sultan Ahmed Sheikh.
Hasan Irfan Khan appeared on behalf of the respondent — Shezan Bakers and Confectioners.
The legal dispute stretches back over 33 years to Dec 29, 1988, when Shezan Bakers filed an application with the Registrar of Trade Marks seeking registration of the trademark ‘Shezan’ in their name. The firm intended to use the name for its patties, cheese straw, chicken sandwiches, chicken spring rolls and a number of other items.
The application was eventually published in the Trade Marks Journal.
The registrar advertised the application in the journal for the purpose of inviting opposition. Shezan Services did so under the Trade Marks Act of 1940.
Authored by Justice Qazi Faez Isa, a 10-page judgement accepted the appeal and set aside a May 14, 2018, Sindh High Court (SHC) order which rejected the plea with an observation had it been the case of permissive use only, the appellant would have claimed a royalty for continuous use of the word “trademark.”
The apex court judgement was clear in declaring that Shezan Bakers and Confectioners was not the proprietor of the word ‘Shezan’ and had not registered the trademark Shezan.
Instead, Shahnawaz Limited was the proprietor of the label ‘Shezan’ and the first to have registered the name on Sept 30, 1958 — 30 years before the respondent applied for registration, the order said.
The trademark Shezan is being held by the appellant (Shezan Services) since Sept 30, 1958. There was a distinctiveness in the trademark, the bench observed.
Shezan Services had contended that the trademark Shezan was their house mark since the entity was an internationally known maker of jams and jellies.
The company is also the proprietor of several hundred trademarks registered in Pakistan. Some of them are even registered abroad.
The word Shezan, as well as the label, had been duly registered in respect of jams, marmalades and jellies, the company argued.
The trademark Shezan was originally registered in the name of Shahnawaz Ltd, but that company assigned this trademark, subsequently, in favour of Shezan International.
The petitioner further contended that due to continuous and extensive use under the label of Shezan, it has become very popular in the country.
The company accused Shezan Bakers of imitating the trademark Shezan for their bakery and confectionery products.
In their turn, Shezan Bakers furnished the copy of an agreement dated Feb 19, 1975. The petitioner objected that the agreement had been executed by a third party.
Furthermore, Shezan Services argued, permission was granted to Shezan Bakers for running two restaurants in Lahore, namely Oriental Restaurant and Continental Restaurant.
The agreement did not confer any right to the bakers, the petitioner added.
Published in Dawn, June 18th, 2022
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