Row over Amul water in Vadodara VADODARA: Have a cursory look in eateries around Vadodara's station area and you will notice Amul water bottles prominently displayed there. But it is neither Amul Dairy nor the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) that markets Amul brand here. Instead, a local entrepreneur based in Vitthal-Udyognagar near the milk city has started selling Amul water bottles in Vadodara much before players in Gujarat's dairy sector start tapping state's water market.
And if what is in the name is your next question, a little background will explain you more. Vitthal-Udyognagar-based Jal Beverages Limited is making inroads in Vadodara even before Baroda Dairy can kick off its Narmada Neer project.
The Baroda Dairy plans to sell packaged water of Narmada through this project, for which it has sought GCMMF's marketing expertise. While Narmada Neer project has turned politically hot with divisions within dairy's elected representatives on feasibility, GCMMF wants to test effectiveness of the project before it supports it elsewhere in state.
Interestingly, it was only recently that the Gujarat High Court had passed a judgment in favour of GCMMF, wherein it had stated that trademark brand 'Amul' cannot be used by any other player even if it was not competing in the dairy industry.
GCMMF that manages Amul Dairy (which owns Amul brand) had filed trademark infringement cases against two local shop owners Amul Chasmaghar and Amul Cut Piece Stores in district court. While the district court passed orders restraining the two from using Amul trademark, Amul Chasmaghar challenged the district court's interim injunction in HC, which upheld the district court's orders.
"But our case is different as we have already registered the trademark as per government rules in 1998 when we set a small-scale industry at Udyognagar," argues Hitendrasingh Jadeja, director of Jal Beverages Limited.
"I had registered the 'Amul' trademark much before Baroda Dairy mooted its project. Even when National Dairy Development Board had first forayed into the water market, it sold its water in the name of 'Jal Dhara' and not Amul."
Adding that he hardly sells 2,500 boxes of packaged water bottles a month, Jadeja questions whether people will stop naming their wards as Amul just because there is a dairy player of that name. "Kolkota-based hosiery sells Amul undergarments and a Kutch-based entrepreneur sells Amul plywood," Jadeja said.
GCMMF officials are, however, following up the matter with their legal department. "HC has ruled that a registered trade mark is infringed by a person who — not being a registered proprietor or a person using by way of permitted use — uses in the course of trade a mark which is identical with or similar to the registered trademark and is used in relation to goods or services which are not similar to those for which the trademark is registered," says a federation official.