INDIA – Local dairy brand Amul has filed a lawsuit against Vimal Dairy for allegedly infringing five brands with similar packaging and names.
The five brands in dispute are Vimal Shrikhand, Vimal Butter Milk, Vimal Paneer Fresh, Pizza Cheese Mozarella and Mast Dahi.
In January this year, Vimal released an ad of its product range. Amul - which carries similar product categories – claims that Vimal Shrikhand used similar color combinations, placement of feature and packaging to that of its own Shrikhand launched in 1995.
In addition, Vimal Paneer Fresh is sold in a bright green colored packaging with a picture of a paneer cube located at the center – similar to Amul’s Paneer Fresh which has been available in the market since 1997.
Accusing Vimal of breaching its copyright and trademark, Amul also said that Vimal’s products may cause confusion amongst consumer who may end up buying Vimal’s products in the belief that they are Amul’s.
The case is currently pending before the District Court of Mirzapur. While a notice has been issued to Vimal, the hearing is yet to begin.
Vimal Dairy– an Ahmedabad-based manufacturer and processor of milk, butter, pure ghee, cheese, butter milk and milk powder - is trying to get the case thrown out by claiming that Amul’s litigation is not maintainable as the case does not fall under the court’s jurisdiction.
"If the defendant (Vimal) has adopted deceptive artwork and colour combination which are essential feature of the plaintiff's (Amul) product, then it's a clear case of infringement," commented Samrat Mehta, a solicitor & IP lawyer from Mehta Legal.
He also noted that in such cases,” the defendant has to prove that the graphics and colours used on the packaging are commonly used in the trade to describe the product or the quality.”
Amul’s task will be to prove that its consumers are being deceived, and that they have ended up purchasing Vimal’s products because of the similar packaging design