• Oishika Banerji

The Taste of India making a mark in Canada


India's diary mammoth, Amul with its victory over Amul Canada on trademark and copyright infringement issues, declared by the Canadian Federal Court, became the brand to win its first case outside the territory of India. In this technology-driven world where social media plays a significant role, cases of violation of intellectual property rights have made sufficient room for themselves. The Canadian Federal Court in the case of Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers' Union Limited and Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. vs. Amul Canada, Mohit Rana, Akash Ghosh, Chandu Das, and Patel Patel, observed that Amul India should be awarded damages by the defendants on grounds on unauthorized utilization of trademark and copyright vested on the Company. Before delving into the case, it is noteworthy to mention the two significant objectives behind the trademark law to understand the relevance of the judgment delivered by the court. They are;

  • Safeguarding the general public from deception and confusion by distinguishing between two similar kinds of products on the ground of their origin.

  • Along with protecting the trademark owner's business, trademark law secures the goodwill associated with the trademark.

The "AMUL" trademark

The term "AMUL" is a combination of two different words which are taken from the plaintiff, Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers' Union Limited's previous name Anand Milk Union Limited, and from “Amulya”, the Sanskrit word which means priceless and precious. In use since 1955, the AMUL trademark is not only known in India but around the world. The plaintiff, Kaira is also been a recognized owner of the AMUL trademarked goods in Canada since 2010. Kaira is the registered owner of Canadian Trademark Registration No. TMA877339, registered on 7th May 2014, using the expression “Amul The Taste of India", for the trademark AMUL, which has been used in Canada since June 30, 2020, in association with milk products.


Facts of the case

The trademark "Amul", owned by an Indian company established in 1946 and recognized by the name of Kaira, acknowledges the business with 3.2 million members as producers of manufacturing and marketing of milk products. The plaintiffs had filed a statement of claim before the Canadian Federal Court holding the defendants, Amul Canada responsible for infringing trademark and copyright vested on the plaintiff by means of advertising their products under the label of the plaintiff, through a LinkedIn website handled by the defendants. Repeated ignorance of the reminders from the plaintiffs by the defendants' resulted in the ex parte motion brought before the Federal Court by the plaintiffs.


Judgment delivered by the Federal Court of Canada

Taking into account the contentions of both the parties in the case, the Federal Court of Canada observed;

  • That the defendants' actions resulted in confusion among the public in Canada thereby holding them liable for infringement of the exclusive trademark and copyright rights of the plaintiffs.

  • Followed by this defendants' business was ordered to be banned from carrying out under the authorized expression of the plaintiffs.

  • A 30-day period (to be calculated from the date of the judgment) has been provided by the court to the defendants within which ownership and all rights access, administration, and control for and over the LinkedIn pages/accounts displaying the Plaintiffs’ trademark or copyright shall be transferred to the plaintiff.

Along with the victorious win, the plaintiffs are awarded $17,733, as damages which was ordered to be payable by the defendants.


Reference

  1. Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers' Union Limited and Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. vs. Amul Canada, Mohit Rana, Akash Ghosh, Chandu Das, and Patel Patel.


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