Globalization has manifested the notion of wide competition in the market, obviously with the concern of homogenous types of goods. Thereby, in order to eliminate any confusion among the consumers, the companies use different and vibrant types of packaging, designing, and labelling, to create a unique impression on consumers. In between the brand name, packaging and the product itself IPR rights play an important role in providing the requisite protection. The application of trademarks and copyright are key fragments for protecting statutory rights.
One of the major instances where ‘Identical type of packaging was founded’ and the issue was raised between Parle Products Pvt. Ltd (Plaintiff ) and Future Group Ltd case (Defendant).
Since 2010, Parle Products Pvt. Ltd are the famous FMCG brand, which indulged in the manufacturing and sale of a variety of biscuits but not limited to cakes, wafers etc.
As in 1939, 1971 & 1996, the plaintiff began the manufacturing of the biscuits which are- ‘MONACO’, ‘KRACKJACK’ & ‘HIDE & SEEK’, in those years respectively.
With its rising demand and popularity gains, the plaintiff wanted to secure their statutory rights and therefore firmed their positioning by registration of the respected trademarks under the Trade Marks Act, 1999.
Leading to changing trends, the plaintiff in the year 2013, 2014 & 2017 redesigned and created the latest packaging respectively. The packaging was created by one of the employee in his due course of employment, resulting in the plaintiff being the owner of the Copyright.
The unfair play notion in this strategic environment and market leads to copying and infringement, and therefore in September 2020, plaintiff acme across the biscuits, whose trade dress, packaging and labelling were substantially similar in nature as in – ‘CRACKO’, ‘KRACKER KING’ & ‘PEEK-A-BOO’, and these belonged to the defendant’s company.
The most concerning point were that in order to attain marketability and seek attention, the defendant’s products were put together with the plaintiff products, and the identical twinning of the products would definitely confuse the consumer in its purchase.
It was presented before the court that the defendant had completely violated the goodwill of the plaintiff in the market.
The main intent of registration and grant of exclusive statutory rights is to enable the proprietor of its registered mark and labelling from getting duplicated by another.
Simultaneously, another objective of this registration is to protect the governing consumer rights, which is to provide them with a full description of the products, prevention from deceptive products and provide a variety of options.
Although the trade dress was identically similar, they are phonetically identical as well- ‘CRACK-O’ similar to ‘MONACO’. ‘PEEK-A-BOO’ also depicts a similar meaning to ‘HIDE & SEEK’, consequently ‘KRACK JACK’ was slightly providing a different inference.
But resultant, with the concern of consumer rights and plaintiff rightful statutory rights contention over its products trademark and copyright, the court instructed for the orders of injunction against the defendants, from producing identical products packaging.