IP & Litigation

Infringement as painful as waxing!

/ / Infringement as painful as waxing!

India is a country of over 1.3 billion people, inevitably making it a massive market especially for self-care products. Waxing is one such self-care activity that almost half our population indulges in. Italy-based Rica is a stalwart in making premium hair removal products for all skin types and across the price spectrum. Rica wax can be found in parlours, salons, and even in homes around the world and India is no exception. It will not be an overstatement to say that Rica Wax is at par in the hair removal products market as Maggi is in the snack market in India.

Furthermore, in the covid world, Rica wax shot up to popularity with a launch of a safe & secure disposable waxing system with a popular at-home salon service provider. This enabled the brand to become an even more popular household name in urban India. Such popularity and widespread presence in the market bring its own set of challenges. The most prominent of which is trademark infringement. Many try to sell products that are either represented as the product or related to the famous product so as to create an impression in the mind of the consumer that their product is up to the quality and standard as the original.

Rica Wax is currently fighting a legal battle with  Parul Marketing in India for trying to do the same. In August 2021, Parul Marketing registered the mark “Real Rica Wax” for its own line of hair removal products. While there is a difference in the two marks, a consumer-centric oculus at this issue reveals a different underlying issue.

Let’s take the analogy of the Panchi Petha Store of Agra. Starting in 1950, the sweet shop grew to world fame for its petha and people across the country flocked to purchase the same. Seeing the popularity of the Panchi Petha store, many sweet shops around the area started naming themselves on similar lines if not the same. The situation unchecked has caused a situation that the original Panchi Petha Store has diluted into the market and tourists are often deceived into purchasing from other shops. The proprietor of the Panchi Petha trademark saw a victory for themselves in 2017 when the Allahabad High Court ruled in their favour against the “Pakshi” Petha store. However, this phenomenon has saturated the petha markets of Agra nonetheless.

On similar lines, a product by the name of “Real Rica Wax” appears to be creating an image in the mind of the consumer that this hair removal product is an original manufactured by Rica Wax, whereas the said assumption is false. The insinuation that this wax is in fact the original product of Rica is harming the real manufacturer of the product. It can be seen as a move to cash in on a famous name and create a false brand image in the mind of the consumer.

The Rica S.P.A v. Jatin Hemendrabhai Vora Trading case has been instituted in the High Court of Bombay wherein an interim injunction has been granted to the Rica Wax against the manufacture and sale of hair removal products using the “Real Rica Wax” label, until the next hearing date. The outcome of this case shall perhaps be crucial to Rica Wax who will have to adopt a trademark management strategy accordingly.

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