Home grown dairy giant Amul is busy fighting legal battles against copycats in metros like Mumbai & Delhi. The high courts in Mumbai and Delhi have issued interim orders in at least half a dozen cases after India’s largest food marketing organization filed suits of trademark and copyright infringements against such players.
Around four brands selling milk and dairy products with artwork, design, motif, colour scheme and fonts on pouches, packages similar to that of Amul have surfaced in Mumbai, Delhi-NCR and Uttar Pradesh markets.These milk pouches even copy the iconic mascot — Amul girl — known for its polka dotted frock and a half-tied-up pony. In most of the cases, the milk pouches are sold by adding/ replacing just one or two alphabets in the brand name Amul.
In fact, proprietor of a Palghar-based firm has submitted an undertaking in the Bombay high court stating that he was selling ‘Amsul Taaza’ deceptively similar to ‘Amul Taaza’ — a registered trademark owned by the Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers Union Limited (KDCMPUL) popularly known as Amul Dairy. KDCMPUL is a member union of the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) — the apex organization of all dairy cooperatives of Gujarat. It has permitted GCMMF to exclusively market dairy products with the trademark Amul.
While submitting an undertaking that he has stopped production and sale of the product under the impugned mark – Amsul Taaza – from September 2021, the proprietor has even paid Rs 75,000 as damages to GCMMF.The Bombay high court observed that a defendant simply added the letter ‘S’ to well-known mark Amul to make the impugned mark – Asmul Taaza.
“By no stretch of imagination, the use of the impugned mark and artistic work can be said to be accidental or co-incidental. No other inference than that of riding the goodwill and reputation of the plaintiffs and drawing an unfair advantage can be drawn,” the court of justice N J Jamadar observed while granting injunctive relief.
Delhi high court recently passed ad interim ex parte injunction against Delhi-based Shree Bankey Bihari Vegetables and Foods Co, which had started manufacturing and selling ‘Fresh Cream’ in Delhi/UP market in similar packaging design of Amul Fresh cream. The firm has been restrained from using the trade dress and trademark of Amul Fresh cream.The court has further appointed a local commissioner to inspect the premises, prepare inventory and inspect the book of accounts of the party. “At the time of final arguments, the party has filed an undertaking and paid Rs 1.50 lakh to federation towards token damages,” said Delhi-based advocate Abhishek Singh, who was engaged by GCMMF.
Amul has also filed suits in Delhi high court against a firm selling kitchenware and utensils like Amul pressure cooker and another firm that manufactures, sells, and deals in paint brushes, roller, putty knives and other products with ‘Amul’ and ‘KBI Amul’ marks.
“We are continuously working against such misuse. There is one set of small players who deceive consumers by carrying phonetically similar names and designs of popular and reputed brands like Amul. There are other players who package fake films. And there are a third set of players in the non-dairy product categories who are using Amul’s well-known brand name for their own advantage which is not permissible,” said R S Sodhi, managing director of GCMMF.
Source : The Times of India 5th Jan 2022