Delhi HC holds that the word Amul is indelibly linked to milk products in India
The Delhi High Court on Saturday granted ex-parte ad-interim injunction to Gujarat State Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (GSMMF) in a case involving infringement of its popular trademark Amul by Maruti Metals, a maker of kitchenware and utensils.
The court held that the word ‘Amul’ is distinctive without any etymological meaning and is indelibly associated in the minds of the consuming public with milk and milk products sold by GSMMF. Therefore, any use of the word Amul as a trademark by any other entity is tantamount to infringement, the court held.
Senior advocate Sunil Dalal appearing for Amul submitted that the defendant company had illegally reflected its trademark as registered. While issuing notices to the defendant company, the court held that it was prima facie a case of trademark violation.
‘Amul Cook Ware’
“Section 29(4) of the Trademarks Act, 1999, permits and action for infringement lies even in respect of dissimilar goods, where the impugned mark is deceptively similar to that of the plaintiff,” said Justice C. Hari Shankar in his order. The defendant company was using ‘Amul Cook Ware’ while also using the superscript to denote that the trademark had been registered for kitchenware and utensils, a claim that Amul refuted as being “illegal”.
The court accepted the argument by GSMMF that it has the registered claim over Amul trademark and the impugned mark ‘Amul Cook Ware’ is being illegally used by Maruti Metals to sell kitchenware. “As the impugned mark is not registered and is being illegally shown as a registered trademark, a clear case for grant of ad interim relief, in my view, exists. Such misrepresentation also amounts to a fraud on the consuming public, additionally justifying interlocutory interdiction as sought,” said Justice Hari Shankar.
“The word ‘Amul’ is distinctive and has no etymological meaning. It is indelibly associated in the minds of the consuming public with the products of the plaintiff (GSMMF). Prima facie any use of the word ‘Amul’ as a trademark by any other entity may tantamount to infringement,” the order said.
The Businessline Aug 22nd 2021