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Delhi High Court Orders Delisting Of Cookware With 'Amul' Name From Online Platforms

Nupur Thapliyal
1 Nov 2022 12:52 PM GMT
Delhi High Court Orders Delisting Of Cookware With Amul Name From Online Platforms
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The Delhi High Court has ordered delisting of the cookware, being sold by a businessman under 'Amul' name, from the e-commerce platforms in a trademark infringement suit filed by the manufacturers of popular dairy brand Amul.

Justice Pratibha M Singh directed Maruti Metals, the cookware and pressure cooker manufacturer, to write to the e-commerce platforms selling its products for removal of its listings.

The suit was filed by Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Limited and Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers' Union Limited seeking permanent injunction against Maruti Metals from manufacturing and selling its products under their well known trademark 'AMUL', claiming that the same was deceptively similar to their registered trademark, which is in use for milk and other products since 1958.

Passing an interim injunction order in favour of the plaintiffs, Justice Singh directed that if the product listings are not removed, the plaintiffs are permitted to write to all the online platforms, upon which the websites shall give effect to the order without any further directions of the court.

"Accordingly, all 'AMUL' branded cook wear and pressure cooker products shall remain delisted from all e-commerce platforms or any other online platforms," said the court.

Justice Singh also ordered that all the existing packaging under the mark "AMUL" kept with Maruti Metals, will not be used and shall be destroyed by it.

Taking judicial notice of the fact that "AMUL" is a well-known trademark owing to its large scale use and immense goodwill, the court said that dairy products and cookware are allied goods as they are used in the kitchen.

The court added that use of an identical trademark in respect of dairy products, cookware and pressure cookers cannot be permitted as it is likely to cause confusion and deception in the mind of the consumer.

"Owing to the expanse of the Plaintiffs‟ business, as also the instantaneous recognition of the AMUL brand, consumers are likely to associate cookware under an identical brand as originating from the Plaintiffs. Further, since the Plaintiff‟s mark „AMUL‟ is known across the length and breadth of the country it deserves to be protected as a well-known mark even in respect of unrelated goods in terms of Section 29(4) of the Trademarks Act, 1999," the court observed.

At the outset, the counsel appearing for the defendant submitted that the cookware manufacturing company is willing to change its brand name from AMUL to AMULYA as an ad interim arrangement. However, the same was objected by the plaintiffs' counsel on the ground that even AMULYA is a registered trademark which is used by them for certain products.

However, despite the said objection, the court allowed the defendant company to change its brand name from AMUL to AMULYA as an ad interim arrangement, noting that company was using the impugned mark since 1992.

"This is because in the present case a perusal of the prayers in the plaint and the prayers in the interim injunction application show that the same are focused on the mark "AMUL‟ and/or any other mark confusingly/deceptively similar to the Plaintiffs‟ mark "AMUL‟. The word AMULYA used for cookware cannot at this stage be held to be deceptively similar to AMUL, especially in the factual background of this case. The said word also has connotations in Hindi as also in Sanskrit," the court said.

Permitting the defendant company to use the mark AMULYA in respect of its products, the court directed that the said mark, its colour combination and style of writing shall be completely different from plaintiffs' AMUL trademark.

The court therefore directed the defendant's counsel to forward new writing style and colour combination of the new mark to plaintiffs' counsel within a week to ensure that there is no conflict between the parties.

"Upon arriving on an agreement on the same, the Defendant No.1 may adopt the mark "AMULYA‟ with the agreed writing style and colour combination," the court said.

It added "The present interim arrangement between the parties shall not bind the final decision in this suit, post trial. The opinion expressed in this order is prima facie in nature. The Plaintiff‟s remedies qua the Defendant‟s registration of the mark 'AMULYA‟ are left open."

The matter will now be heard on January 24, 2023.

Title: GUJARAT COOPERATIVE MILK MARKETING FEDERATION LTD & ANR. v. MARUTI METALS & ANR.

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 1029

Click Here To Read Order


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