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IT'S a case of a law firm finding itself at the receiving end of a trademark battle. Reed Elsevier Properties (REP), a US-based publishing house that owns and controls content provider Lexis-Nexis has got an interim relief from Delhi High Court, restraining a Mumbai-based law firm from operating under the name Lex Nexus. The law firm was earlier known as Hathi & Partners.
Observing the striking similarity between the two trademarks, the Delhi High Court gave an exparte injunction against the law firm for infringing the trademark LexisNexis of the US-based REP, Rahul Chaudhry, partner at law firm LLS partner, representing Lexis Nexis, toldET.

"The argument went in favour of REP as the court noted that its trademark is well known and closely connected with the legal field and that the publications, online databases and other services provided under the trademark are very highly regarded," Mr Chaudhry said.

An email sent to Lex Nexus managing partner Shrikant Hathi did not elicit any response.

REP argued that LexisNexis was incorporated in the early 1970's, much before the law firm came into existence in 1998. When the law firm started as a partnership in Mumbai, it was known as Hathi & Partners. It was only in 2002-03 that it changed the name to Lex Nexus, although it again went to its original name for two years in 2004-05 when REP raised objections. However, it has been using the name again for the last one year.

REP contended that the law firm continued the use of the infringing trademark even after it raised objection and sent a final notice to them in 2008.

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