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Thursday, April 21, 2011

‘Orchid’ won’t bloom for Bangalore hotels chain


This story first appeared in DNA Money edition on Thursday April 21, 2011.

Kamat Hotels India Ltd that owns and manages The Orchid ecotel hotels, has got an interim injunction against Bangalore-based Royal Orchid Hotels Ltd (ROHL) on the use of term ‘Orchid’ for their new hotel launches in the country.

A statement on this development from Kamat Hotels said the company had filed a trademarks case in the high court and the recent judgement bars Royal Orchid Hotels Ltd from using the word ‘Orchid’ for all their future projects.

“The court upheld the registered trademark as owned by Kamat Hotels, barring Royal Orchid from using the word Orchid. All existing names of the hotel under the banner of ROHL remain unchanged for the moment until this matter is finally decided by the court,” the statement said.

Speaking on the issue, Vithal Venkatesh Kamat, chairman and managing director, Kamat Hotels,said the management has been staving off similar incidences for a decade now.

“We have asked for a complete injunction and are entitled for the same as per trademarks rules and regulations. We will fight it out in the court and win the case inevitably. It is going to be a constant battle, but hopefully, with this judgement against Royal Orchid, it should pave the path for The Orchid to be our own private and registered trademark and not others to ride on.”

Chender K Baljee, founder, chairman and managing director, Royal Orchid Hotels in his response to the trademarks related court order said it is not a final judgement and that the matter is still sub judice.

“What happened was they (Kamat) filed a case saying we were using their Orchid brand to our advantage but there was no evidence given to prove it in court. We also provided the court with our defence saying we have always used Royal Orchid as our brand and our logo is very different too.”

“The court has only given them an interim injunction barring us to use the term ‘Orchid’ in any of future launches but our existing properties will continue with the Royal Orchid brand they are operating in. The matter is still sub judice and we will go in for an appeal against that order within a month so the case is not yet closed,” said Baljee.

On the possibilities of putting together a new brand altogether just in case the court orders a complete injunction, Baljee said it was too early for that. “We will disclose the details at an appropriate stage,” he said.

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