Appropriating Khadi: KVIC Goes Charging on Two Fronts, Wins Case in Delhi HC

The Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has gone to court on two accounts of different entities trying to hitch on the khadi bandwagon.

Long Story, Cut Short
  • The KVIC, a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament, has asserted proprietorship over its renowned trademark ‘Khadi’ as well as ‘Charkha’ logo.
  • Justice Prathiba Singh of the Delhi High Court, in a judgment on 26 July, held that the trademark Khadi along with the Charkha logo are well-known trademarks.
  • The Court directed the domain name registrars with whom the defendants’ domains were registered, to transfer them to the KVIC within one week.
The KVIC approached the Delhi High Court this July seeking permanent injunction, costs and damages against an entity called ‘Khadi by Heritage’ which was selling PPE kits, hand sanitisers and fireballs under the mark ‘Khadi by Heritage’. The said entity was also using the ‘Charkha logos’ of KVIC on its products.
Trademark Row The KVIC approached the Delhi High Court this July seeking permanent injunction, costs and damages against an entity called ‘Khadi by Heritage’ which was selling PPE kits, hand sanitisers and fireballs under the mark ‘Khadi by Heritage’. The said entity was also using the ‘Charkha logos’ of KVIC on its products. [Representative image] Bishnu Sarangi / Pixabay

The Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has gone to court on two accounts of different entities trying to hitch on the khadi bandwagon.

The KVIC, a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament, has asserted proprietorship over its renowned trademark ‘Khadi’ as well as ‘Charkha’ logo which are registered under several classes of the Trademarks Act in its favour.

The first case: The KVIC approached the Delhi High Court this July seeking permanent injunction, costs and damages against an entity called ‘Khadi by Heritage’ which was selling PPE kits, hand sanitisers and fireballs under the mark ‘Khadi by Heritage’. The said entity was also using the ‘Charkha logos’ of KVIC on its products.

  • The KVIC, represented by Shwetasree Majumder and her team at Fidus Law Chambers, successfully demonstrated the long-standing use of the Khadi trademarks and Charkha logo, their registrations in India and overseas, the voluminous business turnover in the domestic and export market, the reputation of the brand, and the large number of injunction orders passed in KVIC’s favour by the Delhi High Court in lawsuits as also by panelists of the World Intellectual Property Organisation and the Indian National Internet Exchange of India in domain name disputes.
  • Justice Prathiba Singh of the Delhi High Court, in a judgment on 26 July, held that the trademark Khadi along with the Charkha logo are well-known trademarks.
  • The Court also noted that the use of the trademark ‘Khadi’ in this manner, especially in relation to medical products raised enormous concerns in respect of the quality of these products apart from constituting violations of the KVIC’s rights.
  • The Court directed the domain name registrars with whom the defendants’ domains were registered, to transfer them to the KVIC within one week.
  • In an unconventional twist, the Court also directed the Indian Trademark Registry to suo motu reject all trademark applications filed by Khadi by Heritage, in light of this order.
  • The Court directed that the appropriate orders to this effect shall be updated on the Trademark Registry portal within four weeks.
  • The court held that the entity had misused the mark ‘Khadi’ only to promote their products through its websites and other online listings and such misuse of the KVIC’s mark cannot be condoned as the mark, name and the logo, have been identically used by the entity.
  • Recognising the rights of the KVIC, damages of Rs 10 lakh and costs of Rs 2 lakh were also awarded in favour of the KVIC.

The second case: On the same day, in another matter filed by the KVIC against an entity called KDCI or Khadi Design Council of India, which has been organising pageants titled Miss and Mrs India Khadi, the court passed an order reiterating that the Khadi trademark and Charkha logos are well known and cannot be misused.

  • Taking strict note of the acts of KDCI’s founder Ankush Anami, the Court issued a showcause notice for contempt against him, with the observation that the material produced by the counsel for the KVIC prima facie showed that despite an injunction order passed against him, the defendant was corresponding with ministries and state governments using the Khadi trademarks.

The KVIC take

We are delighted at the strong message sent out by the Delhi High Court to those who are misusing the Khadi trademark. This is a valuable brand, and we will not sit by and let unscrupulous third parties monetise it. The declaration of the Khadi trademark as a well-known trademark is a matter of great pride for us.

Manoj Kumar
Chairman
Khadi & Village Industries Commission

 
 
  • Dated posted: August 4, 2022
  • Last modified: August 4, 2022