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Amul Wins Its First Trademark Violation Case Outside India

Canada has recognized ‘The Taste of India’. The Board of Intellectual Appeals of Canada recently granted trademark status to India’s homegrown dairy giant Amul.

The country’s largest cooperative will also receive damages in the amount of CAD 32,733; after it won a trademark infringement case filed in the Federal Court from Canada. It is the first case of its kind that Amul has brought against a company on foreign soil.

The Kaira District Milk Producers Cooperative Union (popularly known as Amul Dairy) and the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF); which markets the Amul brand, had filed in the Federal Court of Canada against Amul Canada and four others; Mohit Rana, Akash Ghosh, Chandu Das and Patel (the first name is not known).

Amul The taste of INDIA

In January 2020, Amul learned that the group had blatantly copied the ‘Amul’ trademark and the ‘Amul-The Taste of India’ logo and created a fake profile on the social media platform LinkedIn.

Amul Canada also had a “view jobs” and “follow” icon on its LinkedIn page; while the four defendants were listed as Amul Canada employees.

Despite several attempts to notify the defendants of the lawsuit, the defendants never responded. Amul’s attorneys later filed an ex parte motion for a default judgment. They argued that Amul had never licensed or given consent for Amul Canada or any of the four people to use its trademarks and copyrights in any way.

The Federal Court of Canada held that Amul has clearly met all the elements to establish the “pass” test; existence of goodwill, deception of the public due to misrepresentation, actual or potential harm to Amul.

The Legal Battle

The Federal Court held that the defendants had infringed Amul’s copyright and issued an order permanently; prohibiting them from infringing on the trademark and copyright of ‘Amul’ and ‘Amul-The Taste of India’.
GCMMF has been exporting dairy products to the US for the past 22 years. It has started exporting Amul Kool (flavored milk), ice cream and dairy snacks to Canada in the last two years.

Amul is the eighth largest milk processor in the world, handling 10.3 million metric tons of milk per year with a turnover of more than Rs 40 billion (CAD 9 billion).

The dairy giant’s lawyer in India for the case was Suhrita Majumdar an intellectual property lawyer at S Majumdar & Co., New Delhi. In Canada, he was represented by Michael Adams, intellectual property attorney for Riches McKenzie & Herbert LLP.

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