Domestic company, Parle Agro has sued Walmart India for violation of trademark. The Bombay HC has granted Parle Agro interim relief till the next hearing on 20th August 2020.
Parle Agro has filed a legal action against Walmart India for ‘deceptively’ packaging and selling an apple-flavoured drink, similar to its trademarked Appy Fizz. This is a very rare example of a domestic company suing a multi-national company for violation of trademark.
The case in question is presided by Justice B.P. Colabawalla of the Bombay High Court who in an interim order, has directed Walmart India to stop and hold back retailing and shelving of the questioned product till further notice.
The Walmart has christened its drink called ‘Fizzy Apple’ and Parle Agro, in its petition, has alleged that the retailer was “manufacturing, marketing, selling and promoting” the drink “using identical font, style and colour scheme” as Parle’s Appy Fizz.
Parle Agro’s advocate, Hiren Kamod told the court the “mark, shape, colour scheme and label … the entire trade dress of the defendants impugned product is identical to the plaintiff’s product.” He added that these attempts show that it was “obvious” Walmart is trying to “sail as close to the wind as possible”.
To support its allegations, Parle said it has dominated the sparkling fizzy apple juice segment with over 90 percent market share. Appy Fizz was launched in 2005 informed the company. Kamod stated that the defendants are thus “seeking to ride the reputation and goodwill” generated by Parle’s product to make “wrongful gains.”
On Walmart India’s part, advocate Abhishek Malhotra from TMT Law Practise told the court that ‘Fizzy’ was a common descriptive word which no one can claim monopoly over.
The interim order from Justice Collabawala came on July 9. The next hearing is on 20th August 2020.
Parle’s Kamod and Walmart’s Malhotra refused to give any comments citing subjudice case, while Walmart did not respond to queries at all.