The FSSAI has taken a decision to permit food businesses possessing valid trademarks to manufacture products identical to ‘ORS’ under their respective trademarked names. The decision was interim, since the matter is being deliberated upon by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks (CGPDTM).
The matter was related to some complaints received by the Food Authority about a misleading advertisement and the marketing of ‘ORS’ (Oral Rehydration Solutions) substitute products or depiction of food products as ‘ORS’ which is a medicinal drug formulation.
In April this year, the FSSAI had issued a direction restricting all such advertisements and had asked the Food Safety Commissioners to issue improvement notices to such FBOs (Food Business Operators).
Meanwhile, the matter was challenged before the Delhi High Court, wherein, it was informed that some companies have valid trademarks issued against their products similar to the term ‘ORS’ for name of their products.
Anil Mehta, Director, Compliance, FSSAI, stated – “As a consequence, the matter has already been taken up with the O/o Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks, Mumbai-CGPDTM, with the request to review such trademarks as per the provisions of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 and inform FSSAI so that further action in the matter may be taken. However, the response/decision from the CGPDTM is awaited in the matter”.
He added that considering the food businesses having valid trademarks granted under the Trade Marks Act, it has been decided to allow the FBOs to manufacture such products under their respective trademarked names until the decision of the CGPDTM was received.
FSSAI’s order says that the decision of CGPDTM shall be binding and final on all such FBOs. In case CGPDTM’s decision comes against such products, the FBOs shall stop production of such products from the date of such decision and recall the products available in the market. And no further extension for manufacture of such product or use of pre-printed packaging material shall be granted.
In the meantime, FBOs had also been directed to provide a prominent declaration on their Front-of-Pack either through non-detachable stickers or printing that ‘The product is NOT a ORS formula as recommended by WHO’ or the FBOs may use similar meaning phrases without changing the intent.
And those FBOs not having trademarked the name are required to furnish an undertaking to FSSAI HQ in this regard and they will be allowed to exhaust the existing stock/inventory of such products along with pre-printed material in six months.