New Delhi: Rivals Britannia Industries Ltd and ITC Ltd, which have been at loggerheads over the packaging of their digestive biscuits for more than a year, informed the Supreme Court on Tuesday that they were headed for a settlement.
The two companies’ failure to approach the court before entering settlement talks was not taken well by justice Ranjan Gogoi.
“We do not want an apology from you. But we will make sure that this case is taken up for hearing again not before one or two years," justice Gogoi said.
ITC has claimed that the packaging of Britannia’s NutriChoice Zero digestive biscuit brand was a copy of its own Sunfeast Farmlite Digestive All Good biscuit.
The Supreme Court was hearing an appeal by ITC against a 10 March Delhi high court order that had set aside the operation of an injunction against Britannia, allowing the company to produce and sell its brand of digestive biscuits. The injunction was granted when the court ruled a petition by ITC.
The court held that ITC’s use of the colour combination on its biscuit packaging could not be seen to have gained enough visibility as to prevent competitors from using it.
The products of both companies were sold in blue and yellow packaging during the course of the case, but ITC informed the court that Britannia had later changed the colour scheme for its biscuit packaging. It adopted a new yellow and purple packaging for its digestive biscuits.
On 6 September, justice S. Muralidhar had restrained Britannia from manufacturing NutriChoice Zero, and asked the company to phase out its existing stock in the market within four weeks.
Britannia had initially agreed to change the blue colour in its packaging but refused to drop yellow. It told the court that yellow was the dominant colour that it had been using for packaging variants of its digestive biscuits and could not consider changing that.
The company, however, later retracted its offer to change the blue colour and brought a counter-suit against ITC on 1 September for its use of yellow on its packaging of digestive biscuits.