Delhi HC prohibits entities from illegally using ‘Khadi’ brand name for beauty pageant, business
Private entities involved in organizing beauty pageants and other business activities illegally using the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) brand name “Khadi” have been barred by Delhi High Court from carrying out business “misleading” in the name of Khadi.
The Noida-based Khadi Design Council of India (KDCI) and the Miss India Khadi Foundation (MIKF) have been accused by KVIC of fraudulently using the brand’s name and deceiving people. In an ex parte order, the High Court declared that the names of the two entities were “deceptively similar” to KVIC’s trademark “Khadi” and, therefore, constituted trademark infringement.
The High Court also ordered the defendants – “Khadi Design Council of India”, “Miss India Khadi Foundation” and its self-proclaimed CEO Ankush Anami – to delete all of their social media accounts on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook under the business name “Khadi Design Council of India ”and“ Miss India Khadi ”.
It also ordered the removal of illicit content from their websites – www.missindiskhadi.in and www.kdci.org – and an e-commerce portal www.paridhaanam.com operated by Anami – which is analogous to the electronic portal of KVIC.
The High Court accepted the KVIC’s arguments that the defendants’ websites and social media pages were scripted and structured in such a way as to make them appear to be the same as the KVIC or part of a government agency providing the same services. like India Khadi.
“This demonstrates the serious bad faith on the part of the defendants and their intention to mislead consumers and take advantage of the goodwill of the plaintiff,” KVIC said.
The KVIC alleged that the private entities were planning and advertising two events titled “Miss India Khadi” and “National Khadi Designers Awards, 2019” in Goa from December 19 to 22, 2020, thus creating a false impression that the events are being held. by the KVIC.
In addition, the defendant KDCI was deceiving people by promising “Khadi certification” to fashion designers and charging Rs 2,000 per head instead. .in which contained a hyperlink to the KVIC PMEGP page.
Noting KVIC’s assertion, Judge Sanjeev Narula said: “The Plaintiff (KVIC) has established a prima facie case in his favor … Irreparable loss would be caused to the Plaintiff, ie KVIC in the event that an interim ex parte injunction is not granted. ”
“Accordingly, until the next court date, the defendants are prohibited from manufacturing, advertising or supplying any kind of goods or services under the ‘Khadi’ brand … In addition, the defendants are welcome to remove their Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages under the brand names “Khadi Design Council of India” and “Miss India Khadi”, and the infringing content from their websites being www.paridhaanam.com, www.kdci.org and www.missindiakhadi.in, ”the judge said in the recent order.
KVIC chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena welcomed the court order, saying it would deter individuals and businesses from illegally using the Khadi brand name and luring people into false promises.
“The activities of ‘Khadi Design Council of India’ and ‘Miss India Khadi’ are a clear case of duping people using the name ‘Khadi’. These entities have no connection or affiliation with Khadi. Those who have been duped , must request a refund and file a complaint against these fraudulent entities, ”Saxena said.
It is relevant to mention that KVIC has recently won several lawsuits against infringement of its “Khadi” trademark. A Delhi arbitration tribunal had ruled last month that “Khadi” was not a generic name to be used by individuals or businesses while permanently preventing an individual from using the “Khadi” brand name.
In March this year, the Delhi High Court also banned a company from using the Khadi brand name and charkha symbol to sell its products under the name “IWEARKHADI”. The KVIC in recent years has acted harshly against these offenders. So far, KVIC has issued legal opinions to more than 1,000 private companies, including Fabindia, for abusing its brand name and selling products under the Khadi name.
The KVIC has sought damages in the amount of Rs 500 crore from Fabindia, which is pending before the High Court in Mumbai.