Home / Companies / News /  Bengaluru bakery vs Amazon trademark battle: Happy Belly Bakes humbles e-commerce giant. Read here

While small businesses fight the daunting presence of e-commerce cutting their exposure and reach, a local Bengaluru bakery has shown the way. Happy Belly Bakes won a four year legal battle against the e-commerce giant Amazon in a trademark infringement case.

The legal battle ensued over the trademark of ‘Happy Belly’. A district court in Bengaluru on 30 August had prohibited Amazon from using the label ‘Happy Belly’ and was directed to remove all products of a similar label from the e-commerce giant's online platform in India.

Here's what happened.

About Happy Belly

Shisham Hinduja and Thripti founded Happy Belly Bakes in the year 2008. Happy Belly Bakes began with the duo making handcrafted chocolates on special orders from a friend’s outhouse.

A women-run business that has about 30 employees, Happy Belly Bakes has the trademark to ‘Happy Belly’ since 2016.  Happy Belly Bakes offers cookies, cakes, and other baked items. In 2010, they launched their first central kitchen at Richard's Park, and then opened their first café.

Initially the company was called 'Regalar', later Hinduja changed it to ‘Happy Belly’ in 2010. "We have a registered trademark and have adopted this (name) since 2010," said Hinduja.

Amazon bakery products

In 2017, Hinduja and her company started receiving calls enquiring if they had listed their bakery products on Amazon. Notably, Hinduja had not made the Happy Belly products available on Amazon. 

Later she understood that one of Amazon's private labels had exactly the same name – Happy Belly.

As per Amazon's website, Happy Belly is the company's brand that "offers quality food and beverage favourites, all at friendly prices".  

Lawsuit filed

Reports have suggested that the Delaware-based Tootsie LLC had attempted to register the trademark "Happy Belly" in 2016. However, they were unsuccessful. Tootsie LLC had filed the trademark application on behalf of the e-commerce giant. 

Following the 2017 discovery, Hinduja filed a lawsuit against Amazon Seller Services, Cloudtail India, and Tootsie LLC.

Legal battle ensues

Amazon argued in court that its business under the Happy Belly brand name was different from that of the one run by Hinduja. Amazon also invoked the international aspect of their Happy Belly, claiming that while Hinduja and Triphti's Happy Belly Bakes operated only in Bengaluru, their products were sold worldwide. 

Court rules in favour of Bengaluru Bakery

After enduring four years of the legal battle between Happy Belly Bakes Bakery and Amazon, on 30 August this year a civil court pronounced a judgment in favour of Happy Belly Bakes and observed that Amazon had violated the Bengaluru-based bakery's trademark.

Amazon had claimed that Bengaluru-based Happy Belly Bakes lacked goodwill and reputation.

This claim was dismissed by the court who counter-stated that the bakery has been operating since 2008 and that the "contention of the defendant reflected their arrogance." "As such, the use of trademark HAPPY BELLY is certainly infringing and passing off of the plaintiff's trademark," the court ruled.

Amazon was also instructed to remove the items from its marketplace in India. Further, Cloudtail and Tootsie were permanently restrained from using the trademark in the country, while the court also termed their mark or logo as deceptively similar.

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