Amul loses trademark battle against US giant

The Gujarat High Court has refused to set aside an order which cancelled Amul’s registration of its trademark “TRIX,” on which a US firm has claimed its right.

In July, the Intellectual Property Appellate Board had directed Registrar of Trademarks to cancel Amul’s registration of TRIX trademark.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala, in a recent judgment, dismissed the petition filed by Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Ltd, Amul’s owner, seeking cancellation of trademark “TRIX” registered in favour of US food giant General Mills.

Amul, 35 years after registering the trademark and after General Mills’ entry into Indian market as late as in 1995, had questioned the US firm’s right over TRIX.

Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation, which markets milk and milk products under Amul brand under a licence from the petitioner, registered TRIX (coined from the word TRICKS from the concept of appearing and disappearing tricks as in magic show) as a trademark in 1977.

“In 1986 we launched a chocolate under ‘TRIX’ trademark. We advertised it in a manner that it was so tasty that the chocolate bar just disappears/melts in mouth quickly,” according to the petition.

However, Amul stopped using TRIX in 1987.
US food giant’s subsidiary, General Mills India Pvt Ltd, came into existence in 1995. In 2005, it applied for registration of trademark TRIX claiming that in various countries it was holding the same trademark since 1910.

Since Amul already owned the trademark, General Mills India’s application for registration was rejected.

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