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ITC LIMITED v. BRITANNIA INDUSTRIES LIMITED


Recently, a Division Bench of the Madras High Court upheld an order passed by a single judge of the court, restraining ITC Limited (“Appellant”) from marking its butter cookies under the mark SUNFEAST MOM’S MAGIC BUTTER COOKIES, in a blue-coloured wrapped, that was deceptively similar to the wrapper used by Britannia Industries Limited (“Respondent”) for its butter cookies under the mark GOOD DAY BUTTER COOKIES, since many years.


The Respondent is the registered proprietor of the GOOD DAY/GOOD DAY-formative marks, in Class 30, which has been declared as a well-known mark by the erstwhile Intellectual Appellate Board, as well as the Delhi High Court. The Respondent, recently this year, began using the mark SUNFEAST MOM’S MAGIC BUTTER COOKIES, in relation to butter cookies, in a blue-coloured wrapper, similar to that of the Respondent, suddenly departing from its usual red-coloured wrapper.


The Division Bench, while arriving at its decision, opined that the elements constituting the Appellant’s trade dress has been meticulously designed to be as similar as that of the Respondent’s as possible, and is far from a mere co-incidence. The Division Bench, further, put forth that given the nature of the concerned products, being sold in the shelves of supermarkets, any ordinary consumer is bound to be deceived, and that such dishonest adoption is only attributable to the Appellant, given the Respondent’s prior rights. Further, the Division Bench held that trade marks and the trade dresses get their distinctiveness in the combination of the colour scheme and the overall getup thereof, and not in individual components. As regards the question of monopolizing the colour blue, the Division Bench stated that it is the colour scheme, coupled with the overall getup which gives rise to the proprietary right of the exclusive use, and that use of the colour blue as background in the Appellant’s wrapper made its product offend the Respondent’s proprietary rights of its trade marks, trade dress and copyright.


Accordingly, the Division Bench upheld the single judge’s order. However, the Division Bench permitted the Appellant to exhaust the impugned products until the depletion of the existing stock.


ITC LIMITED v. BRITANNIA INDUSTRIES LIMITED, O.S.A. (CAD) Nos. 134 to 138 of 2023.


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