HC restrains Dhoots from using BBC name for their news channel

NEW DELHI: News is now filtering out as to why the proposed news channel backed by the Videocon group of India still remains off air and is not making any airwaves. Reason: BBC - the British Broadcasting Corporation and the original one - has moved a Delhi court seeking redressal against the usage of the abbreviation BBC by the group's promoters, the Dhoots.

The result is quite obvious. The Delhi High Court has restrained Videocon from using the abbreviation BBC.

The Dhoots had been saying that the group plans to launch a business news channel in Hindi language which was to be called Bharat Business Samachar which would have got abbreviated to BBC.

"The palintiff (UK broadcaster BBC) has made out a good prima facie case against the defendant (Bharat Business Channel) from projecting themselves as BBC, a PTI report today quoted Justice Manmohan Sarin as observing in an ex-parte order restraining Videocon's proposed channel from using the trade mark BBC as an abbreviation for their proposed channel.

When got in touch with BBC World's Delhi office, a spokesperson refused to confirm or deny any such move, but the person did admit, "Our head office had been apprised of the move (by Videocon) and the legal department has been looking into the issue."

It may be recalled that HBO had also got legal redressal some years back against the Hindujas who had planned a cable-delivered movie channel which would have abbreviated to CBO (Cable Box Office). The Hindujas subsequently changed the name and it now operates under the name CVO (Cable Video Opera).

Though one of the Dhoot brothers, RK Dhoot, is a Shiv Sena Member of Parliament, he could not be contacted by till the time of writing this report.

Stating that the Videocon group has already tied up with SinTel, a leading providerof integrated communication services in the Asia Pacific, BBC counsel Rajiv Nayar alleged that the adoption of the identical abbreviation was a deliberate attempt by the proposed channel to tread upon the reputation and goodwill of UK's BBC.

"The Bharat Business Channel's field of proposed acitivity, that is broadcasting, being the same as the BBC's area of business and catering to the same class of customers through a common trade channel, is bound to cause confusion and deception amongst the trade and public who may wonder whether there is any business connection between them," the PTI report said, quoting BBC's submission in the court.

In its submission, the UK broadcasting giant also said that the proposed use of the name 'BBC' by the Indian Hindi channel would dilute the value, goodwill, reputation and propietary rights which exist exclusively in its favour in the name and trade mark 'BBC.'

Pointing out that Bharat Business Channel has not yet commenced operations, the UK broadcaster's counsel pointed out that such an adoption of identical name could not be an innocent coincidence and that it should be restrained from using the abbreviation at this stage itself.

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