CCI Dismisses Allegations of Abuse of Dominance against SPS Steels Rolling Mills Limited and Shakambhari Ispat & Power Limited

On July 8, 2020, CCI dismissed allegations of abuse of dominance against SPS Steels Rolling Mills Limited (‘SPS’) and Shakambhari Ispat & Power Limited (‘SIPL’).[1] SIPL, as a successful resolution applicant under the corporate insolvency resolution process, controls SPS’s management under the orders of the National Company Law Tribunal, Kolkata (‘NCLT’).

Before the insolvency proceedings, SPS and Prashant Properties Private Limited (‘Informant’) entered into a ‘Permitted User Agreement’ to allow the Informant to use SPS’s trademark ‘Elegant’. While the NCLT acknowledged the validity of the Informant’s contract with SPS, it did not grant any relief to it (to use the trademark) because its jurisdiction had ceased after the approval of SIPL’s resolution plan to revive SPS. A plea to grant a permanent injunction before a civil court was also dismissed.

The Informant alleged before CCI that SIPL (through SPS) abused its dominant position by issuing a public notice that threatened civil and criminal prosecution against any entity using the trademark ‘Elegant’ or associated trademarks in any business activities. CCI found that there was no evidence demonstrating the existence of a legal right inherent in the Informant concerning the trademark. The Informant also failed to show any anti-competitive behaviour or consumer harm. CCI also found that the public notice was just a reflection of the existence of SPS’s and SIPL’s rights to safeguard against the misuse of their trademarks, which they validly possess. Given the above, CCI decided to close the matter.

 

[1] In Re: Prashant Properties Private Limited v. SPS Steels Rolling Mills Limited and Ors., Case No. 17 of 2020, Order dated July 8, 2020.

Published In:Inter Alia Special Edititon - Competition Law - August 2020 [ English
Date: August 31, 2020