HC orders Ajanta’s ‘similar’ packaging
EPP News Bureau – Mumbai
Justice Mukul Mudgal of the Delhi High Court upheld the complaint of Colgate-Palmolive against Ajanta India. He held that Ajanta would be liable to be injuncted for passing off its product as that of Colgate Dental Cream because there was “sufficient resemblance” between Ajanta’s toothpaste and that of Colgate Dental Cream.
He relied upon the 14 similarity factors advanced by the Plaintiffs (Colgate) and said, “After taking into account the similarities in the defendant’s (Ajanta’s) product which has been registered by comparing it with the plaintiff’s registered mark, I am of the view that in respect of the competing two products, there is sufficient resemblance between the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s product to justify the plea of passing off.”
Accordingly, the interim order passed earlier in March 2003 was modified and Ajanta has been directed to modify their package by inscribing the mark “Ajanta Health” in Hindi in Gold and the two swirls on left and right of the said mark in Gold colour instead of white.
He said, “The above noted factors do show that the defendant’s get up is inspired by the plaintiff’s product. The toothpaste markets have purchasers from all strata of society and having various levels of education and awareness and they may not notice the difference in the brand name and are likely to get influenced by the overall packaging and get up of the two cartons. This possibility is heightened by the fact that toothpaste is a high turnover consumer item where a purchaser is unlikely to bestow adequate attention to the product.”
He observed, “In my view, the plaintiffs’ product being a prior product as a cumulative result of the features summarised above would have been entitled to protection against the defendant’s product from passing off.”