Vadodara District Court finally declared that ‘Amul’ is the true taste of India and not Anul. It took court almost 20 years to arrive at this decision. There have been instances, in the past where various organizations who have tried to sell their dairy products under similar trademark and failed.
Facts of the Case
Amul or Anand Milk Union Limited was founded in 1946 and Currently, it is one of the leading brands for dairy products in India. It is managed and run by the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Limited, a co-operation. Back in 1998, by the time when Amul had established itself as reliable brand in dairy products market, Amul Dairy, and Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Limited, Major Marketing Body of all District Dairy Unions of Gujarat noticed that Shri Shakti Dairy was selling milk products in packets with labels such as ‘Anul Taaza’ and ‘Anul Shakti’ printed on them. These names matched and rhymed with brand and product name of Amul Dairy and Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Limited which were Amul Taaza and Amul Shakti respectively.
Amul served a legal notice to both, Shri Shakti Dairy and Kuldeep Enterprises. Kuldeep Enterprises were marketing products of Shri Shakti Dairy. They responded by saying that names are phonetically different, and there is no chance of any confusion between the two brands and they continued to sell their products under the same name. Unsatisfied by the reply Amul moved to District Court in Nadiad from where the case was transferred to the new Commercial Court in Vadodara.
Arguments advanced and the decision of the Case
Advocates representing Amul and Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Limited submitted that colour scheme used on the packets of Anul Taaza and Anul Shakti were very similar to that of Amul and furthermore, keeping in mind that products of Amul and Anul are also sold in rural areas where it is very easy for people to get confused between the two products. Moreover, it was argued that Shri Shakti dairy could not reason with a similar look and identical color, rather these were indications of malafide intention of the respondents to imitate and take advantage of the well-known trademark of Amul.
Court after listening to both the sides gave the verdict in favor of Amul restraining Shri Shakti Dairy and Kuldeep Enterprises along with their agents, dealers, and distributors from manufacturing, marketing, processing and packing milk under their labels.
Learning of the Case
From this case, we learn that it is not enough for brands to be just phonetically different, rather, they should be different from each other in more than one aspect such as colour, look, packaging among other things.