High Court saves Turtles Versus Tata

In staunch support of fair criticism, the Delhi High Court denied an interim injunction to Indian multinational corporation Tata Sons Limited which had sought to restrain Greenpeace from making an online game, Turtle Verus TATA, publicly available. The game, which was inspired by Pac-Man, shows turtles being chased by the Tata logo, and intends to raise awareness about the adverse effects of the Dhamra Port project on Olive Ridley turtles.

Tata filed a civil suit against Greenpeace seeking damages of R100 million on the grounds that the game defamed the Tata group and violated its trademark rights. Considering that the Tata logo had clearly been used in a non-commercial context, Justice Ravindra Bhat of the Delhi High Court held that no case of trademark infringement had been established against Greenpeace, and that freedom of speech could not be stifled by an interim injunction. The decision is a victory for not only Greenpeace, but also for the future of legitimate criticism. The suit is thought to be the first strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) case in India.


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