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October 16, 2020

Degree Of Similarity In Packaging And Labels Can Negate Plea Of Coincidence

Author: Siddharth Varshney

In Parle Products Pvt. Ltd. & Anr. v. Future Consumer Ltd. & Ors.[I.A. No. 4133/2020 in COMM IP Suit No. 4120/2020], a Single Judge [K. R. Shriram, J.] of the High Court of Bombay (“Court”) on October 9, 2020, ruled that the Defendant’s packaging and trade dresses of its goods under the marks “CrackO”, “Kracker King” and “Peek-a-Boo” is nearly identical to the Plaintiff’s trade dresses of rival goods.

The Plaintiff claims that it is in the business of manufacturing and selling of biscuits, wafers, cakes, etc. The Plaintiff submits that it adopted the marks MONACO, KRACKJACK and HIDE & SEEK in respect of biscuits, in the years 1939, 1971 and 1996, respectively. The Plaintiff further submits that it created the packaging (see image) in respect of its goods under the marks MONACO, KRACKJACK and HIDE & SEEK in July 2013, July 2014 and May 2017, respectively.

The grievance of the Plaintiff is that the Defendant adopted the trade dresses / packaging / labels (see image) in respect of biscuits, which are identical and/or deceptively similar to the Plaintiff’s packaging and trade dresses. The Plaintiff submitted that the Defendant has copied all distinctive elements and features including the layout, color combination and placement from the Plaintiff’s packaging and trade dresses. The Plaintiff also alleges that the Defendant has intentionally stocked its goods under the impugned trade dresses / labels alongside the Plaintiff’s goods to cause deception in the mind of consumers.

The Court prima facie observed that the Plaintiff’s goods under the said packaging / trade dresses have acquired substantial goodwill and reputation. The Court also noted that “…A comparison of the rival products hardly leaves any doubt about the manner in which Defendants have blatantly copied Plaintiffs’ Packaging / labels…the rival labels are being used for identical products under nearly identical packaging and trade dresses”. The Court granted an ex parte ad interim injunction order restraining the Defendant from infringing the Plaintiff’s trade dresses / labels.

Disclaimer: Views, opinions, interpretations are solely those of the author, not of the firm (ALG India Law Offices LLP) nor reflective thereof. Author submissions are not checked for plagiarism or any other aspect before being posted.

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