Parle Group Engaged In A House Marks Dispute
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Large business facilities in Indiahave often sprung from family collaborations and partnerships. Indoing so, the family name often plays a key role and gains aprominent place as a "house mark" often invitinglitigation. The case of Parle Products v. Parle Agro 2009(39) PTC 405 revisits the dicta behind the use and sharing of"house marks". Parle Products and Parle Agro,parties to the suit are Companies incorporated by two Groups of thefamily of Mohanlal Dayal Chauhan who had been carrying on businessin the name of "Parle" as a part of their corporate namein respect of products for which each of these companies obtainedregistered trademarks, for the use of the word "Parle"singly or in conjunction with other words. Parle Products deals inbiscuits and confectioneries, while Parle Agro is engaged in thebusiness of beverages as also confectioneries which aremanufactured and marketed by them. Parle Products contended thatthe two groups being part of the same family, hailing from VileParle, Mumbai were carrying on business in distinct and separatefields and that neither of them could trample upon the field ofbusiness activity of another so as to use any trade name or marketany product which would be similar to the registered trademarks ofthat other. Elucidating facts regarding theirinception and the incorporation of the companies, it was acceptedby both parties that each of them were entitled to use the word"Parle" for the specific products which each group wasinitially manufacturing or looking after. Parle Products expressedno grievance regarding the use of the word "Parle" byParle Agro in respect of its beverage products. The same positionis propounded by Parle Agro with the use of the mark in respect ofconfectioneries and biscuits by Parle Products. Each of thesecorporations was observed to have used separate names /marks /brands for each of their separate products. The Court noted that the initialbusiness being in the nature of a Partnership Firm, expanded anddiversified to form a Limited Company which later was split to formanother Company, leading to the division of the management andshares held amongst the brothers being sold so as to"exit" from one of the Companies. Their trademarks usingthe word "Parle" have been registered under Classes 29,30 and 32 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999. The Court noting the expansion anddiversification into the confectionery arena observed that ParleAgro used their product identification mark and brand name"Mintrox" and "Buttercup"...
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