Biscuit manufacturers Parle and Future Consumer Ltd are having a litigation in the Bombay High Court over a dispute related to the infringement of trademarks in packaging
Recently, a bench of Justice A K observed that the Future Consumer Ltd has violated the trademarks of Parle products in packaging, and passed an ad-interim injunction against it.
The bench was hearing an interim application in a commercial suit filed by Parle. The court made the aforesaid observation after comparing defendant's products "CrackO", "Kracker King" and "Peek-a-Boo" with the plaintiff's products namely "MONACO", "KRACKJACK" and "HIDE & SEEK".
According to the plaintiff, their brand has been recognized as the most chosen fast-moving consumer goods since 2010and in the years 1939, 1971 and 1996, they began manufacturing and marketing its biscuits under the marks "MONACO", "KRACKJACK" and "HIDE & SEEK", respectively.
To secure its statutory rights in the "MONACO", "KRACKJACK" and "HIDE & SEEK", the plaintiff has applied for and secured trademark registration in respect of the same under the Trade Marks Act, 1999.
In the months of July 2013, July 2014 and May 2017, the plaintiff created the latest packaging used in respect of its "MONACO", "KRACKJACK" and "HIDE & SEEK" products, respectively.
Appearing on behalf of the plaintiff, Senior Advocate Virag Tulzapurkar submitted that a bare perusal of defendants' impugned products bearing the impugned trade dresses/packaging/labels would reveal that defendants have copied each and every element of plaintiffs' packaging including the layout, colour combination, placement and all distinctive elements and features of their packaging to the last millimeter.
He submitted that the defendants' impugned trade dresses/packaging/labels are reproductions of the plaintiffs' packaging. Moreover, the defendants' use of the impugned trade dresses / packaging/labels amounts to infringement of plaintiffs' copyright and passing off, Sr Adv Tulzapurkar contended.
After considering the submissions and perusing through the photographs of the rival products, Court observed-
"A comparison of the rival products hardly leaves any doubt about the manner in which Defendants have blatantly copied Plaintiffs' Packaging/labels. There is no doubt that the rival labels are being used for identical products under nearly identical packaging and trade dresses. The labels/artworks/packaging/trade dresses of Defendants' "CrackO", "Kracker King" and "Peek-a-Boo" products are a reproduction of Plaintiffs' Packaging used in respect of their "MONACO", "KRACKJACK" and "HIDE & SEEK" products and/or reproductions of substantial parts thereof. It is apparent that Defendants must have had Plaintiffs' products before them while designing the impugned packaging. The similarity in the rival packaging/labels cannot be a matter of coincidence."
Finally, granting ad-interim relief, Court noted-
"In these circumstances, a strong prima facie case for the grant of ad interim reliefs is made out. Unless reliefs as prayed for are granted, Plaintiffs are likely to suffer irreparable injury. The balance of convenience is also in favour of Plaintiffs. There are no equities in favour of Defendants."
The Court also observed that since the Court Receiver of the High Court may not be in a position to travel in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and the protective measures enforced by the Government, Adv. Shrinivas Bobde will act as the Court Commissioner and as representative of the Court Receiver, Bombay High Court to execute the present order.
As none appeared for the defendants, Court granted liberty to defendants to apply for variation of this order with 72 hours prior written notice to the advocates for plaintiffs.
Along with Sr Adv Tulzapurkar, Advocates Hiren Kamod, Aditya Chitale, Nishin Shrikhande and Avinash Belge instructed by RKD Legal Services LLP appeared for the Plaintiffs.
Click here to download the Order