Mumbai: UltraTech Cement Ltd has successfully secured its brand in a case of copyright infringement, winning a lawsuit against a firm selling cement brands resembling its own.
Billionaire Aditya Birla-owned UltraTech Cement had moved the Bombay high court on 21 March against Everest Industries, which was using the marks “Ultratruf" and “A One Ultratruf" that were deceptively similar to its own registered mark “UltraTech". In intellectual property rights law, this is called passing-off—making a false representation that is likely to induce a person to believe that the goods or services are those of another. Typically, consumer goods and pharmaceutical firms go to court to protect their brands.
UltraTech said Everest was using the mark “Ultratruf-The Builders Choice".
The placement of the mark, its style, font, colour combination, etc, were deceptively similar to the registered mark and, hence, it had sent a cease-and-desist notice to Everest. “Prima facie, the marks ‘Ultratruf-The Builders Choice’ and ‘A One Ultratruf’ used by the defendants are deceptively similar to the plaintiffs’ registered trademark ‘UltraTech’," justice S.J. Kathawala observed in his order. “The defendants have adopted the font, style, colour combination, placement of material and the words in such a manner that the products of the defendants looks as if the same are the products of the plaintiffs."
The court also observed that Everest was deceptively using another brand name, Ambruja, similar to that of Ambuja Cements Ltd.
The court on 14 May ordered Everest Industries not to use the mark in any manner and directed it to submit to the court ₹ 10 lakh as costs and damage within two weeks.
“The court receiver appointed by the court confirmed the allegations of UltraTech. The defendants even admitted their mistake before the court," said trademark attorney Pranit Nanavati of Gujarat-based law firm Nanavati Associates.
Questions emailed to UltraTech and Everest Industries were not answered till press time. “Much like the commodity cement is, it takes years of consistent efforts on multiple fronts to build a brand out of it and create one’s position as a leader in that segment," said Tina Jain Mehta, co-founder of boutique branding and design firm Pineapple Consulting. “UltraTech has built a name for itself by being consistent in its effort to build a brand promise over a period of time. It is an easy, tempting lure of shortcut to success by riding over somebody else’s efforts that make people give in for getting into acts like these. No wonder UltraTech has to be vigilant as that comes as the cost of being successful."