[Amul vs Amul Cookware] Delhi HC Restrains Cookware Company from Selling Goods Under ‘AMUL’ Label

Delhi High Court Law Insider

Aastha Thakur

Published on: 02 November 2022 at 19:42 IST

The Delhi High Court ordered the owner of a cookware brand to stop selling its items under the “AMUL” name and remove them from online marketplaces.

The single judge bench of Justice Pratibha Singh in its decision gave allowance to Maruti Metals, the cookware manufacturer selling its products under the Amul name, to inform to “all online platforms” in case the goods are not removed and further directed the platforms to follow out the high court’s judgement.

Hence, removing all cooking wares and pressure cookers under brand name ‘AMUL’ were delisted from all online platforms.

The HC further ordered the maker to destroy all existing packaging of cookware bearing the “AMUL” label.

In addition to delisting, the high court permitted Maruti Metals to use a new mark, “AMULYA,” as an “interim arrangement” for its products. The said mark will be completely distinct from the Amul mark used by the plaintiffs Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Limited and Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union in terms of both colour and writing style.

The court directed the counsel representing Maruti Metals to submit the new writing style and colour combination to the plaintiffs’ counsel within a week.

The well-known trademark “AMUL” is owned by Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union. The said distinctive mark is licensed to “use the said trademarks” for milk, milk products, and other foods and beverages.

The company entered into dairy business in 1948 and the mark is now representing established brand for its dairy products, having the longest-running advertising campaign in the world since 1966.

In a lawsuit, AMUL asked the Delhi High Court for a permanent injunction to restrict Maruti Metals from manufacturing, advertising, and selling pressure cookers, saucepans, and other cookware with the “AMUL COOKWARE/AMUL PRESSURE COOKER” mark, which it claimed is identical to or misleadingly similar to its own mark.

The HC said that Amul is well-known across the country and that cookware and dairy products are interrelated because they are both used in the kitchen. Hence concluding that, “the use of an identical mark in respect of these products can’t be permitted as it may cause confusion and deception in the mind of the consumer,”

The HC further held that the Amul brand deserves protection under the Trademarks Act, 1999, “even in respect of unrelated goods.”

During hearing of this matter, the court was briefed that the manufacturer was willing to modify its brand name from “AMUL” to “AMULYA” as an “ad interim agreement,”. The plaintiffs protested to this move, but the HC ruled that it was untenable to argue that the word “AMULYA” used to describe cookware was confusingly similar to the word “AMUL,” particularly considering the context of the case’s facts.

According to the HC, its conclusion is “prima facie in nature” and the “interim agreement between the parties shall not bind the final decision in the lawsuit, post-trial.” On January 24, 2023, the subject will be heard in court.

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