Capital Foods wins interim relief in trademark dispute over Schezwan Chutney2 min read . Updated: 13 Jul 2020, 07:23 PM IST
- As per directions from the Bombay High Court in the matter, a raid was carried out by court receiver on 10 July against Damai International where several packages of the product were seized
NEW DELHI: The popular Schezwan sauce, often eaten alongside dumplings or used as a cooking aid in several Asian meals, has become a reason for a recent legal tussle between General Atlantic backed-Capital Foods and a local foods company that has been selling a similar-named product in the market.
Late last month, Capital Foods, that makes the popular Ching’s Secret brand of noodles, condiments and spices said it had identified a local Maharasthra-based food manufacturer, Damai International, that was selling a spicy dip under the Schezwan Chutney brand name, that is trademarked by Capital Foods since November 2012.
Capital Foods has won interim relief from the Bombay High Court in the matter that temporarily restraints Damai from manufacturing, marketing, distributing, packaging, selling or using the impugned mark.
An ex-parte case of trademark infringement combined with an action for passing off (the product as similar to Capital Foods') was filed by Capital Foods against Damai International on 20 June. An order favoring Capital Foods was passed on 23 June.
However, as per directions from the Bombay High Court in the matter, a raid was carried out by court receiver on 10 July against Damai International where several packages of the product were seized.
On its website, Damai International lists itself as a seller of hummus and dips.
Demand for the Capital Foods' over ₹100 crore Ching’s Secret Schezwan Chutney—endorsed by Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh—surged by 25% during the lockdown.
Capital Foods’, CEO, Navin Tewari said that surge in demand for packaged foods during the lockdown has prompted several companies to lift the name and leverage the demand for the product. Tewari indicated that several other companies have indulged in selling a Schezwan Chutney under their brand name in the market.
“I think somebody is reading into the demand of the product, demand for packaged foods has been unusually high because of the lockdown and suppliers are trying to keep pace with that."
While the company has faced such cases in the past, Tewari said the company has seen several copies in the market in the last three months. "Especially during Covid-19 lockdown, many such similar cases have come to light where these small players have tried to fill the shelves with substandard quality products using the popular brand names to build their sales," Tewari said.
The Schezwan sauce made of red chillies, pepper, oil and other ingredients is sold popularly across local street food stalls in India, and has gained currency among consumers and households in parts of the country. Hence, the sauce has also obtained a local moniker —“chutney".
Capital Foods sells the Ching’s Secret Schezwan Chutney, along with other packaged foods and spices such as Hakka Noodles, hot and sour soup, and Schezwan Fried Rice Masala and a Ching's Secret Chowmein Hakka Noodle Masala.
Capital Foods, set up in 1996, also sells the Smith & Jones brand of condiments and cooking pastes.