The country’s largest co-operative will also be awarded damages to the tune of Canadian dollar (CAD) 32,733 after it won a trademark violation case filed in the Federal Court of Canada. It is the first such case that Amul had filed against any company on foreign soil.
The Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Limited (popularly known as Amul Dairy) and the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) that markets brand Amul had moved the Federal Court of Canada against Amul Canada and four others — Mohit Rana, Akash Ghosh, Chandu Das and Patel (The first name not know).
In January 2020, Amul learnt that the group had blatantly copied the trademark ‘Amul’ and the logo of ‘Amul-The Taste of India’ and created a fake profile on social media platform LinkedIn.
Amul Canada also had an icon to “see jobs” and “follow” on its LinkedIn page while the four defendants were listed as employees of Amul Canada.
Despite several attempts of service of the suit on the defendants, the defendants never responded. Amul’s counsels later brought an ex-parte motion for default judgement. They argued that Amul had never licensed nor provided consent for either Amul Canada or any of the four individuals to use their trademarks and copyrights in any manner.
The Federal Court of Canada held that Amul has clearly satisfied all the elements for establishing “passing off” test being — existence of goodwill, deception of public due to misrepresentation, actual or potential damages to Amul.
The Federal Court held that the defendants had infringed the copyright of Amul and issued order permanently restraining them from infringing the trademark and copyright of ‘Amul’ and ‘Amul-The Taste of India’.
GCMMF has been exporting milk products to USA for the last 22 years. It has started exporting Amul Kool (flavoured milk), ice cream and dairy snacks to Canada over the last two years.
Amul is globally eighth largest milk processor handling 10.3 million metric tonnes of milk annually with a turnover of over Rs 40,000 crore (CAD 9 billion).
The dairy giant’s counsel in India for the case was Suhrita Majumdar, intellectual property lawyer from S Majumdar & Co., New Delhi. In Canada, it was represented by Michael Adams, intellectual property lawyer from Riches McKenzie & Herbert LLP.