The Bombay High Court observed that the Future Consumer Limited has blatantly copied the packaging of the plaintiff Parle Products and thus passed an ad- interim Injunction order against them for infringement of trademarks and seizure of the existing packaged products.
The above observation was made by the court by referring to this comparative table. Appearing on behalf of the plaintiff, senior advocate Virag Tulzapurkar contended that the plaintiff’s brand has been recognized as the most chosen fast-moving consumer good since 2010 and in the years 1939, 1971and 1996 they began manufacturing and marketing its biscuits under the marks “MONACO” “KRACKJACK” and “HIDE & SEEK “. They also had applied and secured the trademark registration of the above 3 products under the Trademarks Act, 1999. The plaintiff created the latest packaging for “MONACO” “KRACKJACK” and “HIDE & SEEK “in the months of July 20-13, July 2014and May 2017.
He further alleged that the defendants Future Consumer Limited has copied each and every element of the plaintiff’s packaging including the layout, color combination, placement, and all other distinctive elements and features. He also argued that the defendant’s reproduction of the plaintiff’s packaging amounts to infringement of the plaintiff’s copyright and passing off. After hearing the petitioner’s contentions and analyzing of the comparative table, Justice KR Shriram made an observation that “a comparison of the rival products hardly leaves any doubt about the manner in which Defendants [Future Consumer] have blatantly copied Plaintiffs’ Packaging [Parle Product Pvt Ltd’s] / labels. There is no doubt that the rival labels are being used for identical products under nearly identical packaging and trade dresses." The Court observed that a prima facie case for relief was made out by Parle after observing the packaging of the products. The court then went to the extent of saying that “It is apparent that Defendants (Future Consumer) must have had Plaintiffs’ (Parle’s) products before them while designing the impugned packaging. The similarity in the rival packaging/labels cannot be a matter of coincidence.” The court temporarily restrained Future Consumer from infringing Parle’s copyright by reproducing, publishing, communicating to the public, or using in any manner the packaging in dispute. 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 pandemic and appointed advocate Shrinivas Bobde as the Court Commissioner to seize products with the Packaging along with all other goods, records. (printed and electronic), account books showing manufacture, stock, and/or sale/export of the products. The court has given Future Consumer Ltd 72 hours to approach the court for variation in the order, as it was passed in their absence and the company had failed to turn up despite being served with a copy was also noted by the judge. The case has now been adjourned to November 27, 2020. [READ ORDER]