Replica brands

Threat of copying for goodwill, trademark of legacy brands on the rise

Not only must brands continually innovate to stay relevant and vibrant, but they must also thwart attempts by small businesses to use their capital and goodwill as leverage in cutting-edge marketing strategies. When third parties and small businesses infringe trademarks with deceptively similar brand names, it results in the production of counterfeit products and significant financial losses for major business groups.

Data collected from the courts indicates that despite the fact that these legacy brands have historically been vulnerable to intellectual property infringement, particularly trademark infringement, such litigation appears to be on the rise, reported India time.

The adoption of the practice of recognizing marks as “well known” for specific goods by the Trademark Office since 2017 could be behind this increase. This opens the door for others to develop similar marks for unrelated goods or services.

In a recent trademark battle, for example, Amul went to court to protect its trademark and prevent another company from using the same trademark for a non-competing product, candles.

Tata Sons, in a separate incident, recently sued foreign business entities HakunaMatata Tata Founders and Tata Bonus for infringement for engaging in the sale of a cryptocurrency labeled Tata coin.

According to legal experts, recognition of “well-known” marks is an important intellectual property right that a company acquires for its products and/or services after wide and extensive use and associations with quality and consistency in the minds of the consumers.

The Amul brand, popular for its range of dairy products, is renowned for its reliability, quality and consistency. According to them, depending on the products they want to sell or the services they want to provide using this mark, allowing these unconnected parties to misrepresent and deceive the general public could have serious repercussions.

In addition, major corporate groups including Godrej and Mahindra & Mahindra, as well as companies in industries such as Honda Motors, Biocon, Asian Paints, Mother Dairy, HUL, Castrol and Boroline are also facing similar issues.

According to experts, fast-moving consumer goods, including cookies, salt, soaps, powdered detergents, tobacco and alcohol, are the most commonly counterfeited products.

A survey found that the prevalence of counterfeit and counterfeit products ranges from 2-15% in Tier 1, 2 and 3 markets.

Some parties deliberately seek to openly use well-known marks as their own. When detected, they argue that there is no prohibition on using the owner’s mark in relation to a different product as it pertains to different items.

According to an industry expert, it’s obvious such adoptions are well thought out given the party wants to quickly ramp up its financial position and capitalize on the goodwill of the well-known brand.

While talking to HAVE, Suhrita Majumdar, partner at law firm S Majumdar & Co, pointed out that due diligence should be undertaken before using/applying for a trade name/trade name as well as a trademark. She said: “Courts continue to recognize an entity’s rights to its well-known marks, even with respect to dissimilar/unrelated goods or services. However, after the Trademark Regulations 2017, the Trademark Office adopted the practice of recognizing trademarks as well known for specific goods/services, which is against the legal provisions. From an enforcement perspective, such recognition for specific goods/services could have a chilling effect, as third parties would assume that this mark is free to adopt/use for dissimilar/unlike goods/services. related, defeating the purpose of the Act. »

A lawyer working for Tata Group said HAVE, “We are very careful to protect the brand and intellectual property against counterfeiting. We also conduct criminal raids on counterfeit products bearing our brands. At times, some group companies have gone to court to obtain general/collective orders for such infringers/infringers. »

In addition, companies that suspect cross-border infringement not only protect their brands in other regions, but also take legal action against infringers through appropriate commercial channels or through local offices.