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SC urges ITC & Britannia to resolve disputes over biscuit packaging: ET Report

Britannia has accused ITC of selling deceptive products with intent of exploiting Britannia's goodwill.

The Supreme Court has asked ITC (Sunfeast) and Britannia to resolve disputes over similar packaging of butter cookies using blue and yellow colour, as reported by The Economic Times. 

Since both the companies make premium products, a bench led by Justice Sanjiv Khanna commented that, “It will be better if both the companies can talk to each other and exchange suggestions to resolve the issue.” The next hearing will happen in January. 

ITC has contested the Madras High Court's ruling from November that prohibited its use of the packaging for Sunfeast MOM's Magic Butter Cookies. This came after Britannia claimed infringement, citing similarities between Sunfeast's blue packaging and Britannia's Good Day Butter Cookies packaging. The HC said that the use of a similar blue colour implied an unethical attempt by ITC to deceive consumers and profit unfairly by passing off its products as Britannia's.

Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi and AM Singhvi, speaking for ITC, argued that blue and yellow colours are generic to butter biscuits and yellow colour is especially used for butter.

ITC stated that in a prior legal dispute regarding zero sugar digestive biscuits, Britannia had taken a firm position that the blue colour used in packaging was generic and common in the industry. Britannia argued that no exclusivity could be claimed by any party for using these generic colours and there was no malicious intent in utilising such colours for biscuits.

"Therefore, the question of Britannia claiming any distinctiveness and proprietary right to the exclusion of other members of trade does not arise and the impugned judgement is fundamentally wrong on this ground alone. Britannia cannot be allowed to approbate and reprobate, as per its convenience, in the manner it has done”, the ITC appeal filed through counsel Mohit Ram concluded.

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