Anil Kapoor (‘Kapoor’) is a well-known actor from the Mumbai film industry with a career spanning nearly 40 years. He has appeared in over 100 films and endorsed several brands. Kapoor is also known in the Mumbai film industry to have popularised the Marathi language slang word, ‘Jhakaas” (roughly translated to English as ‘fantastic’) with his unique delivery of the same. Kapoor claims that the same has become synonymous with him.
In September 2023, the Delhi High Court granted an ex parte injunction order in Kapoor’s favour and against multiple defendants (‘the defendants’). The crux of Kapoor’s claim in the suit was that the defendants violated his personality rights, violated his copyrights in movie dialogues, and were guilty of passing off, unfair competition, and dilution. Kapoor claimed in the suit that the defendants are unauthorizedly using his name, image, likeness, voice, personality, and other aspects of his persona to create merchandise, make false endorsements, and make morphed images by employing tools such as artificial intelligence for commercial purposes. The merchandise created ranged from mobile phone wallpapers and stickers to cups, T-shirts, suits, and key chains. Some of Kapoor’s images were used to make cartoon characters and to upload pornographic images of Kapoor with other actors. His voice and dialogues from movies were also used to make ringtones and ring-back tones The defendants were also guilty of registering domain names using Kapoor’s name. Kapoor alleged that the defendants in a manner were utilizing several features of his persona and misusing the same in malicious ways and were earning monetary benefits out of the same.
Having heard Kapoor’s arguments, the Court issued notice to the defendants and made the following observations:
Accordingly, the Court restrained the defendants from: