Parle Group Engaged In A House Marks Dispute

Author:Ms Divya Subramanian
Profession:LEX ORBIS

Large business facilities in India

have often sprung from family collaborations and partnerships. In

doing so, the family name often plays a key role and gains a

prominent place as a "house mark" often inviting

litigation. 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 the

family of Mohanlal Dayal Chauhan who had been carrying on business

in the name of "Parle" as a part of their corporate name

in respect of products for which each of these companies obtained

registered trademarks, for the use of the word "Parle"

singly or in conjunction with other words. Parle Products deals in

biscuits and confectioneries, while Parle Agro is engaged in the

business of beverages as also confectioneries which are

manufactured and marketed by them. Parle Products contended that

the two groups being part of the same family, hailing from Vile

Parle, Mumbai were carrying on business in distinct and separate

fields and that neither of them could trample upon the field of

business activity of another so as to use any trade name or market

any product which would be similar to the registered trademarks of

that other.

Elucidating facts regarding their

inception and the incorporation of the companies, it was accepted

by both parties that each of them were entitled to use the word

"Parle" for the specific products which each group was

initially manufacturing or looking after. Parle Products expressed

no grievance regarding the use of the word "Parle" by

Parle Agro in respect of its beverage products. The same position

is propounded by Parle Agro with the use of the mark in respect of

confectioneries and biscuits by Parle Products. Each of these

corporations was observed to have used separate names /marks /

brands for each of their separate products.

The Court noted that the initial

business being in the nature of a Partnership Firm, expanded and

diversified to form a Limited Company which later was split to form

another Company, leading to the division of the management and

shares held amongst the brothers being sold so as to

"exit" from one of the Companies. Their trademarks using

the word "Parle" have been registered under Classes 29,

30 and 32 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999.

The Court noting the expansion and

diversification into the confectionery arena observed that Parle

Agro used their product identification mark and brand name

"Mintrox" and "Buttercup"...

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