IP & Litigation

Trademark Registration Of “SWISS MILITARY” Disallowed For A Textile Brand By Delhi High Court

/ / Trademark Registration Of “SWISS MILITARY” Disallowed For A Textile Brand By Delhi High Court

Recently, Delhi High Court ruled in favour of the federal agency of Switzerland Armasuisse, which represents the military wing of the Swiss Government. Switzerland’s defence sourcing office won a trademark tussle against a textile brand in an Indian court, which was the first time a federal agency tried to take on a private company in the South Asian country.

Since Armasuisse was not opposing the usage of the white cross on a black background, the Swiss sourcing office’s lawyer told the court that when combined with the wording, it might be misinterpreted as it indicated the Swiss origin of the product. The agency was also against using a white cross on a red background that is similar to the Swiss flag. The High Court agreed with Armasuisse and ruled that the logo could not be used as a trademark. If it’s used, consumers may conclude that the goods originally came from Switzerland, rendering them ineligible for registration under Indian statutes that prohibits false trade description.

The court gave an example of backpacks bearing the words “INDIAN AIR FORCE” were noticed by people outside India, it would be obvious that they’d assume a connection with the Indian Air Force, if the words were associated by the official Indian Air Force markings or not. The words “INDIAN AIR FORCE,” like “SWISS MILITARY,” have a solemn interpretation. Permitting the appeals, the court denied the respondent ‘Promoshirt’ their trademark applications for the contested marks.

This has been written by Bhavya Bose during her internship with MikeLegal


  1. 2023/DHC/000019
  2. https://www.barandbench.com/news/litigation/swiss-military-trademark-cannot-registered-textile-brand-suggest-links-swiss-military-establishment-delhi-high-court
  3. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/swiss-government-agency-wins-rare-trademark-case-in-indian-court/articleshow/96809541.cms
  4. https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2023/01/06/marks-under-swiss-military-ineligible-trade-mark-registration-suggest-link-to-swiss-military-establishment-legal-research-updates-news/

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