Asus will no longer be able to sell phones under the name of ZenFone in India starting July 23. The company was gearing up to launch its next flagship product, ZenFone 6 in India very soon but someone just rained on their parade. The Delhi High Court passed an injunction earlier this week which prohibits Asus Technology Pvt Ltd from selling and advertising its products under the moniker of Zen, Zenfone and similar trademarks in the country.
The suit has been filed by Telecare Network India Pvt Ltd, the proprietors of Zen Mobile in India. The company claims to have registered the trademark for ZEN and ZENMOBILE in India back in 2008 for its range of products that consists of smartphones, feature phones, tablets and accessories.
On the other hand, Asus introduced the first product under the Zenfone branding, the ZenFone 4 in 2014. The case rests upon the issue of causing confusion amongst the general public with respect to the products of both the companies.
In addition, the plaintiff has also cited its increasing popularity in the Indian mobile phone market with an annual sales figure of Rs 6,17,35,00,000 for the year 2015-2016. Zen Mobiles even announced Amitabh Bachchan as its brand ambassador back in the day proving to the court that Telecare Network was spending big on promotions before Asus brought its ZenFone lineup to India.
"Consequently, though ZEN is a generic word qua a school of Buddhism, yet it is not a generic mark with regard to mobile phones and tablets as the said word has no connection or correlation with mobile phones or tablets,” the court noted.
Now, there were a lot of arguments from both the sides but in the end, Justice Manmohan passed an interim order in favour of Telecare Network. As a result, Asus is forbidden from selling and marketing products and accessories under the Zenfone brand from July 23. The lawsuit will be taken up further on July 10 but if Asus is unable to justify its case, it could be a game over for the Zenfone brand in India, potentially with damages set to the tune of Rs 1,00,00,000 (10 million USD).
Furthermore, Asus sent us an official statement on the matter. "The ASUS legal team is currently working with the Delhi High Court in India to resolve the Zen Mobiles and ZenFone trademark lawsuit. The supply of ASUS smartphones, notebooks and other products, as well as technical support and after-sales service for all ASUS products remain unchanged for all consumers."