Heifer Project International v. Heifer Project India Trust

Posted On - 21 May, 2024 • By - King Stubb & Kasiva


Heifer Project International (the ‘Plaintiff’) a non-profit organisation filed a lawsuit against Heifer Project India Trust (the ‘Defendant’) claiming infringement of its trademarks, trade names, and corporate identity. As per the Plaintiff, the Defendant used the Plaintiff’s intellectual property without the Plaintiff’s permission, which led to confusion among consumers. The case in question was a complicated one with legal questions surrounding the triple test within the trademark infringement cases. Eventually, the Court made a ruling in favour of the Plaintiff, and against the Defendant.

Issue Raised

The primary issue raised in the case was whether the Defendant had unlawfully infringed upon the intellectual property rights of the Plaintiff by using its trademarks, trade names, and corporate identity without authorization.

Arguments Advanced

  • The Plaintiff contended that it was the true owner of the trademarks that were being disputed and it gave solid proof of that by presenting registration certificates among other evidence. The Plaintiff claimed that the Defendant’s unauthorized use of its intellectual property had led to the public’s confusion, and it had diluted the distinctive value of the Plaintiff’s trademarks.
  • The Defendant, in its defence, denied the Plaintiff’s claim of infringement and also raised objections to the validity of the Powers of Attorney documents which empowered the Plaintiff to file the lawsuit. The Defendant maintained that its utilization of the trademarks was legal, and it had not committed any breaches that might be regarded as an infringement.

Court’s Ruling on the Triple Test

The court used the three-pronged test to find out whether the trademark was infringed. The triple test consists of three elements:

  • Similarity of Marks: The Court questioned whether the Defendant’s trademarks were similar to those of the Plaintiff. The examination established that the marks had a great resemblance, and it was possible that consumers would be confused.
  • Likelihood of Confusion: The Court was trying to decide whether the unauthorized use of the Trademark of the Plaintiff Trust was likely to cause an error among consumers about the origin of the goods or services. It decided that this likelihood could, indeed, exist due to the similarity of the marks and the nature of the products or services under consideration.
  • Damage to Plaintiff’s Rights: Subsequently, the Court assessed whether the Defendant Trust’s use of the trademarks has damaged the Plaintiff’s intellectual property rights in any way, such as the dilution of the brand or the loss of goodwill. In conclusion, the Court found that the Plaintiff was injured by the Defendant’s unauthorized use of its trademarks.

Consequently, the Court ruled in favour of the Plaintiff, establishing that Heifer Project India Trust violated the trademarks, the trade names, and the corporate identity of the Plaintiff.


The Court reviewed all the evidence and legal arguments presented by both parties, carefully weighed all the presented factors and ultimately gave the judgment in favour of the Plaintiff. The Court held that the Defendant had in fact infringed the trademarks, trade names, and corporate identity of the Plaintiff. The Court thus granted a perpetual injunction in favour of the Plaintiff and also awarded minimal damages.