India: Mother Dairy given ‘well-known’ mark status by the Delhi High Court

January 23, 2017

In a recent case decided by the Delhi High Court, Justice R.K. Gauba granted a permanent injunction in favor of Mother Dairy (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Plaintiffs’), restraining the use of its trademark/trade dress by the S.K. Raheem & Others (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Defendants’). One of the key factors providing a firm basis to the Court’s conclusion was that Mother Diary is a ‘well-known mark’.

Brief Facts of the Case:

The Plaintiff is operated and financed by the National Dairy Development Board (hereinafter referred to as the ‘NDDB’) under the Operation Flood programme to facilitate the selling of milk and milk product at reasonable prices.

Since 1974, the Plaintiff has been selling various products such as curd, milk, ice cream and butter under the Trade name ‘Mother Dairy’. It has also obtained registration of 17 of its products, majorly under classes 29 and 30.

With reference to the Plaintiff’s market share, it contended that they have invested a significant amount of money and efforts in advertising and marketing with a blue-colored logo since 2003, resulting in the logo becoming a major recognition factor with the product and the associated goodwill. It has set up around 14,000 retail outlets and 845 exclusive outlets and has a market share of 66% in the relevant market in Delhi.

Plaintiff’s Submissions:

The Plaintiff contented that they learned in June 2010 about the Defendants use of a deceptively similar mark under the name of ‘VINAY MILKS’. It was further stated that the Plaintiffs sent a cease and desist notice to the Defendants on July 13, 2010, to which an indeterminate response was received. A further letter dated August 21, 2010, was sent by the Plaintiffs claiming its trademark, logo, trade dress and packaging being used by the Defendants, to the Defendants failed to respond.

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