Go Airlines may pursue legal option against promoter Jeh Wadia over trademark issues

GoAir may potentially pursue legal proceedings against promoter and former managing director Jeh Wadia over a tussle on trademark registration for the company name Go Airlines and the website domain name

These were part of disclosures made in the draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) filed with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Friday ahead of Go Airlines’ initial public offer (IPO).

In the DRHP, it was also revealed that Wadia who stepped down as managing director of the company also stepped down from its board from December 2020.

The airline’s previous brand GoAir and certain other trademarks are owned by Go Holdings, in which Wadia owns 99%. They are not owned by the company Go Airlines. For four years (2006-09 and 2013-14), there were written license agreements in place between the company and Go Holdings governing the use of these trademarks.

For the remaining years, the use of these intellectual property rights was not by way of written license agreement. At present, there is no written agreement in place with Go Holdings governing the use of these intellectual property rights. On Thursday, the airline said it is changing its brand name from GoAir to Go First.

But there are other issues.

“In March 2021, Go Holdings made two applications to the Registrar of Trade Marks, for registration of two word marks used exclusively by our company, namely “Go Airlines” and “”. Further, in April 2021, Jehangir Nusli Wadia made an application to the National Internet Exchange of India, to transfer 115 domain names registered in the name of our Company, from one domain registrar to another domain registrar, namely, M/s. Net4India Ltd to M/s. Network Solutions,” according to the DRHP.

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“Our Company is opposing the aforesaid applications and have also applied for the registration of these two word marks in our own name. The Company also intends to take necessary steps and pursue legal options to establish its ownership over all the trademarks and domain names,” said Go Airlines in the DRHP.

“Further, Jehangir Nusli Wadia has informed the Company that all trademarks which are used by the Company areregistered and are presently owned by Go Holdings. In this regard, the Company has informed Jehangir NusliWadia that the Company is the factual and legal owner of all trademarks which are used by the Company, and notall trademarks which are used by the Company are registered in the name of Go Holdings,” it also said.

On the step down from the board, the company said that the board and the shareholders had approved the re-appointment of Wadia as the managing director of the airline for five years from January 1.

But Wadia “did not execute the agreement with the Company to formalise his re-appointment as the Managing Director. Further, with a view to professionalise the Company, it was decided not to proceed with the proposed formal agreement to be entered into with Jehangir Nusli Wadia, for a period of five years from January 1, 2021. Accordingly, upon expiry of his term, he was deemed to have vacated office as Managing Director and Director, with effect from December 31, 2020,”


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